SHARKS MAY TAKE A BITE OUT OF CANCER
From The Cancer Chronicles #10
© Autumn 1991 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
[I THINK THE JURY IS STILL OUT ON SHARK CARTILAGE. BUT HERE WAS MY FIRST
TAKE ON THE SUBJECT--ED.]
Over ten years ago, a Harvard scientist found that when a tumor cannot establish
a new blood network, it cannot grow any larger than the point of a pencil.
A tumor must have such a network to obtain nutrients and get rid of wastes.
Scientists have now proposed a unique way of fighting cancer by interfering
with the tumor's ability to create a network of new blood vessels.
The new treatment is fibrous shark cartilage. This may sound weird, but
there is a good rationale: sharks, almost alone in the animal kingdom, rarely
get cancer. The reason is that blood vessels will not grow in cartilage.
The shark's unique skeleton is entirely made of cartilage.
In 1983, an MIT scientist wrote in Science that the growth of new blood
vessels could be strongly inhibited by an extract of shark cartilage. He
implanted solid tumors in experimental animals and found that tumor growth
was inhibited by shark cartilage. In 1990, he identified the active component
as a large protein molecule.
Another Harvard scientist, Dr. G. Atassi, wrote that "since vascularization
[new vessel growth] is so clearly essential for the establishment and subsequent
growth of metastases, it seems equally obvious that the inhibition of vascularization
might be a way to prevent the formation" of such secondary growths.
She too urged the use of substances like shark cartilage as a new form of
cancer therapy, since it contained natural inhibitors to the development
of new tumor blood vessels.
Inspired by her article, Dr. I. William Lane arranged for Dr. Atassi
to perform tests of this theory at Belgium's prestigious Institute Jules
Bordet. Lane, who holds a PhD from Rutgers University, is a former vice
president of W. R. Grace chemical company and an international consultant
on marine biology.
Atassi injected 40 milligrams of human melanoma cells under the skin
of "nude" mice, whose deficient immune systems do not reject such
foreign grafts. Two days later, half the mice were fed shark cartilage.
After 21 days, the tumors in the control group had increased 2.4 times and
were growing geometrically. Significantly, all cancer growth in this group
took place in the last seven days, supporting the theory that tumor growth
depends on the establishment of a new blood network. In the cartilage-treated
group the melanoma grafts had shrunk an average of 35 percent.
Lane has now arranged for human trials at clinics in the U.S. and Mexico.
But since the product is natural and non-toxic, its use is spreading rapidly
as a food supplement. It costs about $40 per 100 pills and some patients
are said to be taking 10 or more capsules a day to control tumor growth
and the pain of arthritis. While not cheap, this is far from the costs of
Lane says there are no side effects and compares the product's safety to eating
shark fin soup, a Chinese delicacy. He adds that "shark cartilage
can be used along with any other type of therapy." Although this
innovation was proposed by establishment scientists, shark cartilage is
already under attack. It is natural, non-toxic, relatively cheap and,
for those very reasons, of little interest to the major pharmaceutical
companies. The conservative UC Berkeley Wellness Letter assailed "cartilage
hype" in their October issue. Admitting that the studies were "important
and interesting," they urged patients to wait until shark cartilage
could be made into a "useful drug."
home - moss
reports - books -
- contact - order
chronicles - faq
- free email newsletter