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 conventional therapy.

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." 


Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. is director of the The Moss Reports for cancer patients. Dr. Moss is the author of eleven books and three documentaries on cancer-related topics. He is or has been an advisor on alternative cancer treatments to the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Urological Association, Columbia University, the University of Texas, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the German Society of Oncology. He wrote the first article on alternative medicine for the Encyclopedia Britannica yearbook. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the East, and Who's Who in Entertainment (as a film documentarian). This Web site does not advocate any particular treatment for cancer. We urge you to always seek competent medical advice for all health problems, especially cancer. Before consulting our site please read our full Disclaimer statement.



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