Skip to content

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Cartilage (Bovine and Shark) (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information

Bovine (cow) cartilage and shark cartilage have been investigated as treatments for people with cancer, psoriasis, arthritis, and a number of other medical conditions for more than 30 years.[1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13] Reviewed in [14,15,16,17,18,19,20] At least some of the interest in cartilage as a treatment for people with cancer arose from the mistaken belief that sharks, whose skeletons are made primarily of cartilage, are not affected by this disease. Reviewed in [16,21,22] Although reports of malignant tumors in sharks are rare, a variety of cancers have been detected in these animals. Reviewed in [21,22,23,24] Nonetheless, several substances that have antitumor activity have been identified in cartilage.[25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47] Reviewed in [2,3,4,7,15,16,17,18,19,20,46,48,49,50] More than half a dozen clinical studies of cartilage as a treatment for people with cancer have already been conducted.[2,3,4,7,8,9,50,51] Reviewed in [6,15,16,17,18,19] Additional clinical studies, MDA-ID-99303 and AETERNA-AE-MM-00-02 have been completed. Reviewed in [6,15,51]

The absence of blood vessels in cartilage led to the hypothesis that cartilage cells (also known as chondrocytes) produce one or more substances that inhibit blood vessel formation. Reviewed in [28,29,30,31,36,37,49] The formation of new blood vessels or angiogenesis is necessary for tumors to grow larger than a few millimeters in diameter (i.e., larger than approximately 100,000 to 1,000,000 cells) because tumors, like normal tissues, must obtain most of their oxygen and nutrients from blood. Reviewed in [34,35,42,52,53,54,55] A developing tumor, therefore, cannot continue to grow unless it establishes connections to the circulatory system of its host. It has been reported that tumors can initiate the process of angiogenesis when they contain as few as 100 cells.[54] Inhibition of angiogenesis at this early stage may, in some instances, lead to complete tumor regression.[54] The possibility that cartilage could be a source of one or more types of angiogenesis inhibitors for the treatment of cancer has prompted much research.

Recommended Related to Cancer

What is prevention?

Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective factors. Anything that increases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer risk factor; anything that decreases your chance of developing cancer is called a cancer protective...

Read the What is prevention? article > >

    1|2|3
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Colorectal cancer cells
    New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    sauteed cherry tomatoes
    Fight cancer one plate at a time.
    Ovarian cancer illustration
    Real Cancer Perspectives
     
    Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
    Blog
    what is your cancer risk
    HEALTH CHECK
     
    colorectal cancer treatment advances
    Video
    breast cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    prostate cancer overview
    SLIDESHOW
    lung cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Actor Michael Douglas
    Article