Shark Cartilage

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Shark Cartilage
Shark cartilage has been investigated as treatments for cancer, psoriasis, arthritis, and a number of other medical conditions for more than 30 years. At least some of the interest in cartilage as a treatment for cancer arose from the mistaken belief that sharks, whose skeletons are made primarily of cartilage, are not affected by this disease. Although reports of malignant tumours in sharks are rare, a variety of cancers have been detected in these animals. Nonetheless, several substances that have anti-tumour activity have been identified in cartilage.

The major structural components of cartilage include several types of the protein collagen and several types of glycosaminoglycans, which are polysaccharides. Chondroitin sulphate is the major glycosaminoglycan in cartilage. Although there is no evidence that the collagens in cartilage, or their breakdown products, can inhibit angiogenesis, there is evidence that shark cartilage contains at least one angiogenesis inhibitor that has a glycosaminoglycan component (see Laboratory/Animal/Preclinical Studies section). Other data indicate that most of the antiangiogenic activity in cartilage is not associated with the major structural components.

Some glycosaminoglycans in cartilage reportedly have anti-inflammatory and immune system-stimulating properties, and it has been suggested that either they or some of their breakdown products are toxic to tumour cells. Thus, the anti- tumour potential of cartilage may involve more than one mechanism of action.
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Shark Cartilage

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