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Shark Cartilage: An Effective Cancer Treatment?

September 19, 1997

This locally produced story was published more than 90 days ago, and some information in this online article may now be outdated. Exercise care when relying on archived material.

Sharks. Most of us are deathly afraid of them. But sharks could prove to be a key clue in the treatment of cancer. Details from Health Team Medical Expert Dr. Allen Mask.

The movie "JAWS" made people realize danger lurks in the sea. Now, sharks are stirring things up again. This time they're treading into medical waters. Many doctors think shark cartilage is an effective treatment for cancer. Now the Food and Drug Administration plans to put shark cartilage to the test.

Dr. Richard Rosenbluth/Oncologist: "We are realistic we are entering the trial with our eyes open and we are interested in answering, once and for all, if this is an effective or ineffective drug in the treatment of cancer."

Clinical trials with shark cartilage are being done at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

Patients with breast and brain cancer, who have not responded to other treatments, drink a powered mix with shark cartilage in it or take a tablet. Study participants are followed for 20 weeks.

"There is never a trial with a new drug that we aren't hopeful that it will prove to be the end all of cancer treatment."

Some doctors already think shark cartilage is an effective treatment for cancer. Dr. David Wang says the images, to the left, from an MRI prove shark cartilage works.

"The dark areas on the left show this man's cancer. After a year on shark cartilage you can see on the right the dark areas have lightened showing the cancer is gone."

Marion Murphy had a brain tumor. After surgery and radiation she started taking shark cartilage. An MRI proves the tumor shrank.

Just look at the before and after pictures of Marion's tumor. Her tumor is barely visible a year and a half after taking shark cartilage.

Dr. Chris Christoff/Pancreatic Cancer Patient: "I think more doctors recognize, that there may be out there drugs that we have ignored or failed to look into."

If this treatment proves effective, we may look at sharks in a completely different way.

Shark cartilage supplements are sold in health food stores. This is not the same shark cartilage medication the FDA is testing on breast and brain cancer patients. Before you take any supplements check with your doctor.

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