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Cartilage (Bovine and Shark)

This complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) information summary provides an overview of the use of cartilage as a treatment for cancer.

Bovine (cow) cartilage and shark cartilage have been studied as treatments for cancer and other medical conditions for more than 30 years.

Numerous cartilage products are sold commercially in the United States as dietary supplements.

Three principal mechanisms of action have been proposed to explain the antitumor potential of cartilage: 1) it kills cancer cells directly; 2) it stimulates the immune system; and 3) it blocks the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), which tumors need for unrestricted growth.

At least 3 different inhibitors of angiogenesis have been identified in bovine cartilage, and 2 angiogenesis inhibitors have been purified from shark cartilage.

Few human studies of cartilage as a treatment for cancer have been reported to date, and the results are inconclusive.

Additional clinical trials of cartilage as a treatment for cancer are now being conducted.

 

 
     
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