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Fighting Cancer With Fungus: An Interview with Yongzhong Wang

Researchers with the University of Tennessee recently published a study that could one day mean an exciting new treatment for cancer. Biomedical Engineering researcher Yongzhong Wang and his colleagues study nano-particles, already an important part of therapy for cancer and other disease. Nano-particles are usually created through chemical engineering. Wang says what makes this study unique is that this is the first time researchers have captured the nano-particles from a micro-organism for use in this therapy. His team of researchers found that a particular fungus, arthrobotrys oligospora secretes these tiny particles when it traps its food. (The fungus feeds on nematodes, or tiny roundworms.) The team also found that the nanoparticles- this fungus produces may actually kill cancerous tumors and stimulate the immune system. The preliminary study was published last month in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.  WUOT's Morning Edition host Chrissy Keuper sat down and talked about the development with Yongzhong Wang.