American Paul Stamets turned to medicinal mushrooms when his mother told him she had breast cancer and had only months to live.
Stamets had heard of clinical studies of turkey tail mushrooms and his mother took eight capsules a day, starting in June 2009. "Today she is cancer free," he told delegates. "There's no better payoff for science than that."
Habitats and humans shared immune systems and fungi were "the cellular bridges connecting the two", Stamets explained.
Fungal-strain medicines can stave off bird flu and SARS viruses, he said, while antibacterial tests had confirmed positive effects against tuberculosis and E. coli.