Women with breast cancer at Istanbul University (International Immunopharmacoloty v 7, 2007) were given beta glucan. Their average age was 52, and their cancer was in the advanced stage. It was concluded, "Beta glucan administration seems to stimulate proliferation and activation of peripheral blood monocytes in patients with advanced breast cancer."
The Journal of the Nutraceutical Association (v 5, 2002) published two fine articles. At the University of Louisville it was found mice were protected from tumors. "Orally administered beta glucan treatments also showed tumor protective effects on tumor size and vascularization." At the University of Mississippi a well referenced review of the literature was done. Based on all the animal studies it was suggested real people start using beta glucan to both help prevent and to treat various cancers.
At the University of Louisville (Journal of Immunology v 173, 2004) the very mechanisms by which beta glucan attacks tumors was clearly defined. Beta glucan was bound to radioactive dye and the course of action was following after oral administration to mice. The macrophages took up the glucans, and then transported them to the spleen, lymph glands, and bone marrow.
At Osaka City University in Japan four studies were done. Reishi mushroom glucan (Osaka-shiritsu Daigaku v 38, 1988) was proven to inhibit and shrink the solid sarcoma tumors in mice. A stunning review was done complete with a full fifty-four references in the book Carbohydrate Drug Design (1997, Dekker) on the many studies done on antitumor activity. This excellent review even covered the structures, mechanisms of action, and clinical applications of beta glucans for tumor and malignancy prevention and treatment. Another review with 14 pages and 18 references was published in Frontiers fo Biomedicine and Biotechnology (1993). This covered many of the antitumor and anticancer properties of beta glucans and their structure.
In Warsaw (Przemysl Spozysczy v 56, 2002) a well referenced review was published. Human studies have shown, "Dietary beta glucan enhances immunity by activation of macrophage cells, doubling their counts in 24 hours. Dietary beta glucan also acts as an antioxidant protecting the body against free radical damage and lowers blood cholesterol levels. Dietary beta glucan can be helpful in treatment of many immunity-related diseases."
The University of Strathclyde in Glascow did a fine review on animal and human studies with beta glucan (International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms v 5, 2003). In addition to the proven immune enhancement benefits they said, "Recent research has also shown that some of these mushroom-derived polymers may possess direct cytotoxic effects on cancer cells." Soon we will be routinely using beta glucan for treating various forms of cancer naturally.
At the State University of Tennessee in 1996 (Proceedings- Beltwide Cotton Conference, v 1) researchers were aware that, "Glucans, isolated from natural sources, are known to stimulate humoral and cell-mediated immunity in humans and animals. It is now established that 1,3 beta glucans are recognized by macrophages and perhaps, neutrophils and NK cells via a 1,3 beta glucan specific receptor. Following receptor binding, glucan modulates macrophage cytokine expression." This simply means they understand the way glucans work is by binding to macrophages, neutrophils and NK cells and making them more potent in their defense of the body.
A very impressive study using malaria was done at Rangaraya medical College in India in 1990 (in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology v 28). Mararia (Plasmodium berghi) was injected into mice and death was prevented in most of the ones receiving the glucan while the untreated ones died. They said, "The results suggest that glucan potentiated both limbs of immunity and both were involved in the host defense against malaria." Malaria is very prevalent in the poorer tropical countries.
In a study at Harvard University (v 220, 1994), patients undergoing serious thoracic and abdominal surgery were given either beta glucan or a placebo. Over one fourth of the people undergoing major surgery get infectious complications. The average cost per patient is over $12,000. "Patients who received beta glucan had significantly fewer infectious complications, decreased intravenous antibiotic requirement, and shorter intensive care stay. Beta glucan is safe, and appears to be effective in the further reduction in the morbidity and cost of major surgery."