Researchers Study Effect Of Shark Cartilage On Tumors

Researchers Think Cartilage Might Block Blood Flow To Tumors

POSTED: 9:13 pm CST January 12, 2004

UPDATED: 9:24 pm CST January 12, 2004

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Researchers are looking into shark cartilage as a way to stop the blood supply to cancerous growths in the human body.

Doctors know cancer cells create their own blood supply as they grow and spread throughout the body. But because cartilage has no blood vessels, researchers believe it contains an agent that prevents blood vessel growth, KMBC's Kelly Eckerman reported.

The study is trying to find out if shark cartilage can disrupt the blood supply to tumors -- a process called anti-angiogenesis.

Patsy Jones was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer three years ago. She signed up for a clinical trial that is studying the effects of liquid shark cartilage on tumors. Jones and other study participants take either liquid shark cartilage or a placebo twice daily. She said that despite the fishy smell, she hasn't missed a dose.

"I'm very devoted to it. I take it first thing in the morning and between 7 and 8 at night," she said. "I hope this will extend my life. I realize it's not going to cure me, but it does extend your life from all that I've read about it."

Eckerman reported that researchers hope even if they cannot eliminate tumors, a combination therapy with chemo and radiation -- along with the shark cartilage treatment -- could keep tumors at bay for long periods of time.

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