Nutrition Supplement: Shark Cartilage and Cancer Treatment

Vitamins minerals and more: Shark cartilage may prove useful in cancer treatments as a way to limit tumor growth.


| July/August 1997



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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved human trials of shark cartilage as a cancer treatment, a step toward its acceptance as a legitimate therapy. Dr. I. William Lane holds a doctorate in agricultural biochemistry and nutrition and has been researching the anticancer effects of shark cartilage since the late 1980s. Founder and president of Cartilage Consultants, Inc., he received the U.S. patent on shark cartilage in 1992.

Herbs for Health—Please describe your research.

Dr. I. William Lane—My research started in 1987 when Dr. Henri Tagnon, head of the Institut Jules Bordet in Brussels, Belgium, a major cancer research center, listened to my theories and offered assistance. We ran animal studies which showed that oral administration of shark cartilage completely inhibits tumor growth. After that, we conducted human studies in Mexico that achieved good success with reducing tumors in breast-cancer patients. From there we did the now-­famous Cuban study, covered by Mike Wallace and 60 Minutes. In that study, we administered shark cartilage to twenty-nine patients suffering from various terminal cancers (including prostate, breast, central nervous system, stomach, liver, ovary, uterine, esophagal, tonsil, and bladder). Today, 48 percent of these patients are completely cancer-free.

HH—How does shark cartilage work?

IWL—By cutting off the network of vessels that nourish tumors so they cannot thrive (a process known as antiangiogenesis). But shark cartilage only prevents new vessels from forming; it doesn’t affect vessels that already exist. Without a feeding network of new blood capillaries, new tumors can’t grow and existing tumors wither because their fragile blood vessels break down but aren’t replaced.

HH—What are the components in shark cartilage?

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