The Cuban Society of Immunology awarded the National Prize of Immunology in the category of Basic Research to the work "Immunomodulatory properties of the edible medicinal mushroom Pleurotus spp", by the authors Humberto Joaquín Morris Quevedo, Gabriel Llauradó Maury, Yaixa Beltrán Delgado, Yamila Lebeque Pérez, Rosa C. Bermúdez, Nora García Oduardo, Isabelle Gaime-Perraud, Serge Moukha and Paul Cos.
The award is received by researchers from the Center for Industrial Biotechnology Studies (CEBI), belonging to the Faculty of Natural and Exact Sciences of the Universidad de Oriente, after the results obtained in the last 5 years of uninterrupted work, which show evidence of the immunostimulatory activity of bioproducts obtained from edible mushrooms Pleurotos ostreatus.
In the expert opinion read by Dr. Ana Beatriz Pérez and Dr. Beatriz Tamargo, members of the Governing Council of the Cuban Society of Immunology states that the award-winning work "has been carried out with an excellent level of basic research, impeccable designs, and, above all, it has completed its development cycle, as a product that can be scaled and produced with registration and commercialization possibilities ".
As confirmed by Dr. Humberto Morris, Director of the Center of Studies of Industrial Biotechnology (CEBI) belonging to the Universidad de Oriente, “this is the Edible Mushrooms fundamental lineage of the crop collection of this research center, which has excellent nutritional properties with high concentration of proteins, essential amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and bioactive compounds. In addition to its intrinsic nutritional value, it was shown that the mushroom Pleurotos ostreatus has a broad spectrum of therapeutic effects, highlighting its immunopotentiating properties, understood as a stimulating effect of the immune system.
In the work, evidences of studies carried out in both in vitro systems, namely in cell cultures, and animal models in situations of secondary immunodeficiencies in which an increase in the levels of a series of indicators of the immune system was observed, have been gathered. This can be an important asset for the development of national products that would be added to the reduced therapeutic arsenal that is currently available to treat diseases associated with the immune system, including immunodeficiencies and cancer, a health priority in the Cuban and international scenario.
As antecedent to these results, Dr. Humberto Morris points out that, in 2014, in collaboration with the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares in Spain, the antiproliferative and cell-cycle modulating effect of a Pleurotus spp preparation was studied and demonstrated on a cell line of human leukemia, NB 4 cells, in which an apoptosis-inducing effect and modulator of cell cycle events was seen.
In relation to edible mushrooms specifically, Dr. Morris states that "in Santiago de Cuba, some spaces have been created in the biosaludable markets where canned mushrooms are commercialized, which is a way to promote this product in our population, with the objective of gaining acceptance given the benefits of the mushrooms from the medicinal and nutritional point of view".
This Award - explains Dr. Humberto Morris - contributes to visualize the results in an environment where specialists from the medical sciences participate, especially in the specialty of immunology, which is a fundamental clinical component to help disseminate these results.
"In the future, the challenge is to move towards the development of nutraceutical formulations that can be used with a prophylactic approach and therapeutic purposes if the immunodeficencies or pathologies have been installed, as they would help to modulate the course of them. This is one of the most important tasks for the next years of work as part of project 3 of the VLIR IUC Program, in which we participate, dedicated to the development of biopharmaceutical products from natural sources. We propose to design a nutraceutical formulation for its use in some kind of clinical study with patients afflicted with the pathologies that share the weakening of the immune system as a common symptom.
Translation: Lilia Sanz Gámez