By John McDevitt

By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Yunzhi mushroom has been used in Eastern medicine for more than 2,000 years. It’s believed by many to have immune-boosting properties.

Penn Veterinary Hospital is currently looking for dogs with spleen cancer to participate in a study on mushroom compound therapy. Scientists are hopeful that it could one day lead to cancer research for humans.

A mushroom extract called “I’m-Yunity” has been manufactured, and it will be used in a follow up clinical trial among 100 dogs with hemangiosarcoma.

Leading the study, Dr. Dorothy Cimino-Brown, who is the director of of the clinical trial center for veterinary medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She says hemangiosarcoma originates in the blood vessels most commonly seen in the spleen first:

“This particular cancer may not be the most common cancer in dogs, but it’s physiology, the way that it spreads, is pretty basic and so that’s why we are pretty hopeful that it will apply to a lot of different cancers in a lot of different species.”

Dr. Brown says the study will take about a year or two. Some of the dogs will get just the mushroom compound therapy, while others will get the compound and chemotherapy. A third group will just receive chemotherapy.

A previous study where 15 dogs who only got the mushroom extract therapy, lived twice as long as animals that didn’t have any other treatment.

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