beta 1,3d Glucan
β-Glucan has been used as an immunoadjuvant therapy for cancer since 1980, primarily in Japan. Numerous studies report that beta-1, 3 glucan has anti-tumor and anti-cancer activity. In one study, intralesional administration of beta-1,3 glucans resulted in rapid tumor shrinkage. In another study with mice, beta 1,3 glucan in conjunction with interferon gamma inhibited both the establishment of tumors and liver metastasis.
In some studies, beta-1,3 glucans enhanced the effects of chemotherapy. In studies on bladder cancer with mice, administration of cyclophosphamide, in conjunction with beta-1,3 glucans derived from yeast resulted in reduced mortality. In human patients with advanced gastric or colorectal cancer, the administration of beta-1,3 glucans derived from shiitake mushrooms, in conjunction with chemotherapy resulted in prolonged survival times compared to a control group receiving identical chemotherapy
Beta-glucans found in baker’s yeast and certain fungi are thought to have anticancer properties. In Japan, mushroom-derived extracts rich in beta-glucans have been used for over 20 years in intravenous forms and are approved for use as adjuncts to chemotherapy. There are phase III trial in the U.S. using beta-glucans with other cancer drugs. No forms of beta-glucans have been approved by the FDA to treat cancer.
Other beta-glucans, such as beta-D-glucan, can play an important role in the diagnosis of toxic mycosis caused by fungi that contain such compounds, such as Candida and Aspergillus species.
Macrophage activity is known to play a key role in wound healing from surgery or trauma. In both animal and human studies, therapy with Beta glucan has provided improvements such as fewer infections, reduced mortality, and stronger tensile strength of scar tissue.
This disease is caused by an IgE-mediated allergic inflammation of the nasal mucosa. Orally-administered yeast-glucan decreased levels of IL-4 and IL-5 cytokines responsible for the clinical manifestation of this disease, while increased the levels of IL-12. Based on these studies, glucan may have a role as an adjunct to standard treatment in patients with allergic diseases.
Using paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, yeast-derived glucan was found to cause decline in oxidative tissue damage during the progress of arthritic diseases, suggesting the role in treatment of arthritis.
Effect of beta glucan on Chemotherapy:
“Chemotherapy may induce immune suppression and result in subsequent infection with opportunistic infections. Such life threatening conditions may be averted by administration of beta glucan. Leukocytopenia is a decrease in the number of white blood cells due to chemotherapy. Consequently lower dosages of drugs are used which comprise the curative effect of chemotherapy. However, with beta glucan, white blood cell deplection may be avoided in experimental animals. In another experimental model, combination of beta gulcan and interferon-gamma demonstrated synergistic therapeutic effect. Similarly superior synergistic potential of beta glucan in combination with radiation and chemotherapy were reported.”