Posts Tagged cordyceps

Journal of Biological Chemistry: Cordycepin Continues to be an interesting Lead Compound for Cancer Therapy

Cordyceps miltaris and has been proposed as the active component of traditional medication that is reputed to alleviate a large variety of ailments (1,,3). It has been reported to have numerous biological activities, including the inhibition of cell proliferation (4,,6), induction of apoptosis (7,,10), inhibition of platelet aggregation (11), inhibition of cell migration and invasiveness (4, 12), and inhibition of inflammation (13). In mice, cordycepin can reduce tumor formation in a model of metastasis (12) and has therefore been proposed as a cancer drug.

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Business Week Article: The Power of a Chinese Supplement


We all understand the power of living healthy now for a better future.  It’s the little things that count.  Lately, I’ve been studying up on Asia’s most prized supplement called Cordyceps.   If you think back just 5 – 10 years ago there was little talk about Acai, Pomegranate, green tea or raw chocolate.  Nobody, really made an effort to make sure they had antioxidants in their diet.  Next thing you know some celebrity is talking about her Acai diet, and the guy changing my oil is giving me advice on how to get enough antioxidants in my diet.   Get ready to take it up notch by saying that you drink youR acai infused green tea w/ your daily cordyceps…booyah!  Cordyceps are well known for thousands of years to strengthen immune system respons and restore youthful vitality.  Pharmaceutical companies have found benefits of cordyceps to treat multiple sclerosis.

Nu Skin (NUS) develops and distributes anti-aging personal care products and nutritional supplements under its Nu Skin and Pharmanex brands, respectively. As of December 31, 2009, it had a global network of over 761,000 active distributors. During the year ended December 31, 2009, approximately 84% of its revenue came from its markets outside of the United States. The Company markets its personal care products under the Nu Skin brand and its science-based nutritional supplements under the Pharmanex brand.

Nu Skin cordyceps can be order at

  • Hannah Tran

From Soup to MS Drug: One Fungus’s Journey

Gilenya, Mitsubishi Tanabe’s parasite-derived pill for multiple sclerosis, could be a blockbuster

By Kanoko Matsuyama


Tetsuro Fujita’s eureka moment about a Himalayan fungus came in 1985. As the scientist was driving over a bridge between Japan’s Shikoku and Honshu islands on his way to conduct research on traditional herbal remedies, Fujita was contemplating ways to keep patients’ immune systems from rejecting transplanted organs. He was particularly intrigued by the example of a parasitic fungus used in a Chinese medicinal soup. Known in Asia as “winter insect, summer plant,” the Cordyceps fungus invades an insect larva during winter, feeds on it for months, and then grows out of the host by summer. Fujita suddenly realized that the fungus must be suppressing the immune system of the insect larvae on which it grew to maturity.

His research on Cordyceps at Kyoto University eventually helped Japanese drugmaker Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma produce Gilenya, a treatment for multiple sclerosis that Novartis (NVS) licensed and began selling in the U.S. in October. UBS (UBS) says annual sales of the medicine, the first pill to treat the autoimmune disease afflicting more than 2 million people worldwide, may exceed $5 billion annually by 2018. That would rank it among the 10 best-selling drugs worldwide, based on data from researcher IMS Health. Mitsubishi Tanabe will likely book royalties equivalent to 10 percent of sales, based on the median of estimates by four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

“Little did I think that it would be a treatment for multiple sclerosis,” says Fujita, 80. “I knew nothing about the disease back then.” Multiple sclerosis causes the immune system to attack the myelin sheath, which protects nerve cells, leading to symptoms including numbness, difficulty in coordination, and memory loss. In its severest form, multiple sclerosis also can shorten life.

Gilenya, approved to treat the relapsing-remitting form of multiple sclerosis, the most common, competes with injected drugs including Biogen Idec’s (BIIB) Avonex and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ (TEVA) Copaxone. The Novartis pill cut the number of relapses by more than half compared with Avonex, according to a study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine.

European regulators are expected to make a decision on the drug by the end of April. Gilenya is also being reviewed by regulators in Japan. In the U.S. the drug is priced at $4,000 for a monthly prescription. A month’s supply of prefilled Avonex syringes costs $2,414.99. Analysts expect Gilenya to be cheaper in Europe.

Current medicines require patients to inject themselves every other day or once a week, says Kyoko Nakata, chairman of Japan’s MS Cabin, a support group. “Gilenya would make it easier to treat the disease, as it saves time and brings patients closer to having a normal life,” says Nakata.

That’s gratifying to Fujita, now a professor emeritus at Kyoto University. “Although it took a quarter of a century,” he says, “I’m happy it’s become a drug while I’m still alive.”

The bottom line: According to analysts’ estimates, Mitsubishi Tanabe will likely book royalties equivalent to 10 percent of sales from its new pill to treat MS.

Matsuyama is a reporter for Bloomberg News.


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Bloomberg: Properties of Cordyceps could eventually Help Multiple Sclerosis Patients.


Preventive Medicine is key to living a healthy lifestyle.  Sow the seeds of health now  to prevent the surprise of future illnesses.  Do it for you and your loved ones.  Adding cordyceps to your multi-vitamin regiment can make the difference.  It doesn’t hurt to try. Contact Hannah Tran at for  monthly supply of cordyceps.

“With the help of another researcher, Fujita partnered with Yoshitomi Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Taito Co., now respectively part of Mitsubishi Tanabe and Mitsui Sugar Co. The scientists began studying in 1986 the Cordyceps fungus known in Chinese and Japanese as “winter insect, summer plant,” so called because it invades insect larva during winter and grows out of the host by summer.

Fujita said he was inspired by the discovery of ciclosporin, also derived from a fungus, which spurred research into how the immune system may be subdued in transplant patients. Fujita, now a professor emeritus at Kyoto University, said he was unaware the immune-modulating properties of Cordyceps could eventually help multiple sclerosis patients.

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BBC News: Insights into Cordyceps promising for cancer prevention & treatment

Pharmaceutical grade cordyceps can be ordered at:

New insights into Cordyceps promising for cancer prevention & treatment

22 December 2009

A promising cancer drug, first discovered in a mushroom commonly used in Chinese medicine, could be made more effective thanks to researchers who have discovered how the drug works. The research is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and was carried out at The University of Nottingham.

In research to be published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Dr Cornelia de Moor of The University of Nottingham and her team have investigated a drug called cordycepin, which was originally extracted from a rare kind of wild mushroom called cordyceps and is now prepared from a cultivated form.

Dr de Moor said: “Our discovery will open up the possibility of investigating the range of different cancers that could be treated with cordycepin. We have also developed a very effective method that can be used to test new, more efficient or more stable versions of the drug in the Petri dish. This is a great advantage as it will allow us to rule out any non-runners before anyone considers testing them in animals.”

Cordyceps is a strange parasitic mushroom that grows on caterpillars (see image). Properties attributed to cordyceps mushroom in Chinese medicine made it interesting to investigate and it has been studied for some time. In fact, the first scientific publication on cordycepin was in 1950. The problem was that although cordycepin was a promising drug, it was quickly degraded in the body. It can now be given with another drug to help combat this, but the side effects of the second drug are a limit to its potential use.

Dr de Moor continued: “Because of technical obstacles and people moving on to other subjects, it’s taken a long time to figure out exactly how cordycepin works on cells. With this knowledge, it will be possible to predict what types of cancers might be sensitive and what other cancer drugs it may effectively combine with. It could also lay the groundwork for the design of new cancer drugs that work on the same principle.”

The team has observed two effects on the cells: at a low dose cordycepin inhibits the uncontrolled growth and division of the cells and at high doses it stops cells from sticking together, which also inhibits growth. Both of these effects probably have the same underlying mechanism, which is that cordycepin interferes with how cells make proteins. At low doses cordycepin interferes with the production of mRNA, the molecule that gives instructions on how to assemble a protein. And at higher doses it has a direct impact on the making of proteins.

Professor Janet Allen, BBSRC Director of Research said: “Research to understand the underlying bioscience of a problem is always important. This project shows that we can always return to asking questions about the fundamental biology of something in order to refine the solution or resolve unanswered questions. The knowledge generated by this research demonstrates the mechanisms of drug action and could have an impact on one of the most important challenges to health.”



Click on the thumbnails to view and download full-size images.

Note that you are permitted to use this image to accompany this story only. Additional usage is not permitted under the associated licence.

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Cordyceps militaris growing on a moth pupa. © Malcolm Storey, 2001, Some rights reserved. (177KB)

Notes to editors

The research is due to be published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry and is available via early online publication at:

About The University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK’s Top 10 and the World’s Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.
Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £450M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. BBSRC carries out its mission by funding internationally competitive research, providing training in the biosciences, fostering opportunities for knowledge transfer and innovation and promoting interaction with the public and other stakeholders on issues of scientific interest in universities, centres and institutes.

The Babraham Institute, Institute for Animal Health, Institute of Food Research, John Innes Centre and Rothamsted Research are Institutes of BBSRC. The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.

External contact

Dr Cornelia de Moor


Matt Goode, Head of Corporate Communications
tel: 01793 413299
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Nancy Mendoza, Senior Media Officer
tel: 01793 413355
fax: 01793 413382


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