Shark Cartilage Research

Shark Cartilage Research

Journal Articles: 

Shark Cartilage Administration in Human Advanced Cancer Diseases

Jose R. Menendez Lopez, M.D.,Ph.D.
 Jose E. Femandez-Britto Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D, D. Sc. 
I.W. Lane Ph.D

A group of 29 patients, all with stages 3-4 neoplastic diseases or various localizations, declared refractory to conventional oncological therapeutic procedures, were submitted to a 16 week, inpatient regime which consisted of the administration of a 100% pure shark cartilage preparate either rectally (first six weeks) or orally (thereafter) on dose ranges that went from I to 2.26 g. per 2 pounds of body weight. Patient's response to the product's administration was monitored regularly in clinical humoral and imagenological terms. A total of 15 patients did show benefit from shark cartilage administration based upon body weight gain, rising levels of hemoglobin and hematocrite, better performance of the cell-mediated immune response pattern and Karnofsky's index as compared to the pre- admittance patterns. Tumor size reduction ranged from 15 to 67% in prostatic cancers and 12 to 25% in ovarian cancers. Also, no regrowth of surgically removed CNS tumors was detected. No secondary or adverse product related reactions were observed in more that 15,000 administered doses, except for two skin reactions. Interesting histopathological features consisting mainly of a peculiar behavior of the connective tissue developing fibrosis, in metastasis lymph nodes and other organs of the decreased patients (6) in whom an autopsy was performed, are also mentioned. Authors emphasize thatshark cartilage administration, although demanding a more thorough research, seems to be valuable in the treatment of advanced cancer disease in whom conventional therapeutic approaches have demonstrated to be of no further help.


Today options for the treatment of advanced cancer disease, (ACD) are sometimes held back by the tonic or -unwanted effects of the majority of the therapeutic agents. These agents, although technologically very sophisticated, are really of scarce value in some selected patients.

Bone marrow failure, various grades of kidney dysfunction, cardiocirculatory disturbances and also incipient sips of radiotoxemic disease are becoming the main yielding factors to complete scheduled cycles of radio and chemotherapy. Also, surgery sometimes is of limited value, as tumors are not able to benefit from surgical removal very frequently.

'Therefore, it seems logical to consider, for further development or therapeutic schemes in ACD, the testing of another family of oncospecific agents that are supposed to accomplish the main therapeutic goal of being able to exhibit standard oncological properties without being harmful to the patient already battered immune system from the progression of neoplastic disease and by the toxic and secondary effects of the employed therapy.
The use of animal cartilage for various therapeutic purposes can't be considered a new item. In fact, various attempts have been made during the last 15-20 years to establish it's therapeutic usefulness in cancer treatment.

Although interesting enough to deserve more careful attention from the medical community, administration of shark cartilage seems to have reached a certain and critical point of development. Some kind of decision has to be made in order to assess the real effectiveness of this non-toxic therapeutic approach for the treatment of ACD.


An open-labeled highly selective prospective biomedical experiment was designed and performed by a multidisciplinary medical team on a medical facility in Havana, Cuba, on 29 patients who voluntarily agreed (written consent) to take part in a 16 week inpatient regime therapeutic trial.

The main goal was responsiveness to the administration of shark cartilage on clinical humoral and imagenological terms, and also the surveillance for the identification and characterization of secondary and/or adverse reactions related to the product's administration. Clinical workup during the biomedical experience consisted of daily medical rounds, weekly staff meetings, and evaluations which were held at the 16th week.

The administered product consisted of unadulterated 100% pure dry shark cartilage. It's chemical analysis disclosed the following composition: 4 1 % ash ( 60% composed by calcium and phosphorus at a 2:1 ratio); 39% protein, 12% carbohydrates, 7% water, less than 1% fiber and less than 1% fat. Shark cartilage was administered rectally through a 15 g (50 n3l enema) plastic syringe. After each dose, the patient was instructed to lie in a right decubitus for 25 to 30 minutes. After the sixth week, patients were free to continue in the rectal administration route or to take the product orally using 1g coated capsules swallowed with natural juices.

Standard dose was I g per each 2 pounds of body weight as a rule. Well-documented medical criteria could change dose to a higher extent never to a lower one. No life- expectancy criteria was taken into consideration for the inclusion of patients in the study.


Mean age group was 67.4 years. Age ranges were 17 to 82. Sex distribution was practically equal (5 1% females and 49% males). The most represented age group was the one that ranged from 57 to 67 years. White predominated over blacks.

Benefit from shark cartilage administration was assessed using an integral criteria that included humoral discriminating values, assessment of Karnofsky's index scores before and after treatment and also imagenological evidence obtained throughout the whole experience.

The group of patients (15) who did benefit from the product's administration had hemoglobin values remain practically unchanged. The same thing happened with the hematocrite values. Eritorosedimentation rates increased at 64% of their initial values by the 16th week. Mean body weight of the group was 64.17 kg.

The immunological serum pattern was found to be in the following parameters:
Increase of 2.14% of the pre-treatment values of the Active Rosette Test (ART), with the values of the Spontaneous Rosette (SRT) being 15.08%. Levels of circulating immunocomplexes were 237% and serum medium con3plement activity (CH-50) was found to be increased by 2.14%.

An overall decrease of serum immunoglobulins did take place. IgA descended down to 8.83%, IgM to 50.50% and IgG to 10.8 1%, as compared to the initial determinations.

Of the group of patients in whom a beneficial effect of shark cartilage was not demonstrated (14), the following humoral values were found: hemoglobin levels decreased by 13%, hematocrit levels by 9% and eritrosedimentation rates by 50% ( initial ESR were somewhat higher in this group.)

ART and SRT showed increases of 3.76% and 15.08% respectively, while levels of circulating immunocomplexes increased up to 241%of their initial values and medium serum complement activity was less than I% (exactly 0. 59%).

Also, a decrease of circulating immunoglobulins took place; IgA-8.47%, Igm.-24.87% and IgG in 18.9%.

Karnofsky's index behavior was not uniform Among the 29 patients submitted to the medical experience, a total of 16 improved or maintained their initial scores. A total of 5 patients, although worsening at the end of the experience, improved their scores for a short period of time. A total of 8 patients steadily decreased in score. It is noticeable that in one series a total of 4 patients scored 100 points at the end of the 16 week period (normal life with no disease-related sips and symptoms).

Brain tumors scored a 60% improvement of Karnofsky's index behavior. Two patients with brain tumors had to be operated upon on behalf of uncontrolled intracraneal hypertension. One patient from the brain tumor group scored I 00 points at the end of the 16 week period (normal life with no disease-related signs and symptoms).

Brain tumors scored a 60% improvement of Karnofsky's index behavior. Two patients with brain tumors had to be operated upon on behalf of uncontrolled intracraneal hypertension.  One patient from the brain tumor group scored 100 points.

Among prostatic tumors, 4 out of 5 patients improved their initial Kaniofsky's index , scores. One patient, though showing a progressive trend in improving initial score, died from an intra-abdominal infectious condition not tumor-related in the early post-operative period.

In breast tumors, 4 out of 6 patients improved or maintained their initial scores. Among the two breast cancer patients that died, early Karnofsky scores improved.

The two patients with ovarian cancers had increasingly higher Karnofsky indexes throughout the trial. In one patient, a dramatic improvement of her clinical condition progressively took place that allowed her to be classified from a patient that demanded considerable help and frequent medical care to one who leads a normal life with minor sips and symptoms of malignant disease. The other patient had considerable tumor reduction, allowing her to be re-operated upon. The surgical procedure was success&l this time. The tumor that had been formerly attached to the pelvic wall (frozen pelvis) was removed in a practically bloodless operation.

Among the two patients with uterine malignant conditions, an improvement of Karnofsky's index score were attained. However, one of the two patients died from an acute myocardial infarction.

Among the two patients with malignant liver conditions, the one with a primary hepatocarcinoma maintained normal He-style pattern with minor signs and symptoms of the disease during the entire 16 week period. The other patient with metastastic liver disease experienced a decline in health, and was unable to develop a normal life-style pattern or to do normal active work.

The two patients with malignant tonsil conditions ended the biomedical experience with a worsening of their initial Karnofsky's indexes. However, one of them was able to experience the development of a normal activity with minor signs and symptoms of disease (ordinofagia improved greatly).

Patients with esophageal and gastric cancers did poor on Karnofsky's indexes, although a very initial positive response was found in one patient esophageal cancer, but it did not consolidate.

The only patient with primitive urinary bladder cancer was seriously impaired by his metastatic liver condition, and finally died as a consequence of this.

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