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What Is Shark Cartilage?

Shark Cartilage, in the true sense of the term, is just that--cartilage tissue from a shark. Cartilage, a translucent elastic tissue, composes most of the skeleton of embryonic and very young vertebrates and, through a process of calcification, is transformed into bones which make up the fully developed skeletal system.

You're probably most familiar with cartilage as the "tough stuff" you don't want in your meat. You most likely refer to it as "gristle." Cartilage is apparent in the human body, as your nose and "Adam's apple."

Cartilage is also found between the segments of the spine and at the ends of long bones, where it acts as a shock absorber and a bearing surface to reduce the friction between moving parts. It is tough and elastic. There are three types.

Fibrocartilage, the first type, is found between the backbones. It is the strongest of the three types. The second, hyaline cartilage, is gristly elastic tissue that thinly covers the moving ends of bones, connects the ribs to the breastbone, and supports the nose, windpipe, and part of the voice box. This type of cartilage is likely to harden in elderly people. Yellow cartilage, the third variety, is the most elastic. It is found in the external ear, Eustachian tube, and throat.

One of the most interesting things about cartilage, however, is not its form but its importance to the body--an importance that is first apparent in the embryo. In an early fetus, there are no bones; it is cartilage that provides the framework on which the major bones of the body--excluding the skull--take form. Eventually, fetal cartilage becomes impregnated with calcium salts so that hard, or "stony," bones become apparent.

The bones of children are relatively pliable because they contain more cartilage--which is found at the tops of bones in zones called growth plates--and less calcium salts than do the bones of adults. (A theory has been postulated that newborn children are resistant to many diseases because of the large amount of cartilage present in their bodies during the early fetal and developmental stages.*) Elderly people have much less soft tissue such as cartilage and a higher proportion of calcium salts, so their bones are more brittle.

A process similar to the one in which fetal cartilage develops into bone takes place throughout life whenever bones are broken. It is believed that when a bone breaks, a substance within the bone signals cells from the circulatory system to clean out the breakage site and summon undifferentiated cells to populate the site and multiply. These undifferentiated cells become chondrocytes, or cartilage cells, which produce an intertwining of cartilaginous fibers that fills the break and joins the bone fragments together. Finally, the cartilage is calcified and becomes new living bone.

Amazingly, cartilage is a tissue that performs its functions without nerves, blood vessels, or a lymphatic system. Nutrients are, therefore, not transported to cartilage via the blood or lymphatic fluid. It is this particular characteristic that seems to hold particular promise in battling cancer and other diseases that cause the formation of malignant tumors.*

In 1983, two researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a study showing that shark cartilage contains a substance that significantly inhibits the development of blood vessels that nourish solid tumors, thereby limiting tumor growth. Working independently, medical researchers at Harvard University Medical School found that if one could inhibit angiogenesis--the development of a new blood network--one could prevent the development of tumor-based cancer and metastasis.*

To date, scientists have not identified the specific active components of shark cartilage which are responsible for manipulating the process of angiogenesis. Some in the scientific community (mainly those in a position to gain financially from the opportunities synthesis would yield) criticize advocates of shark cartilage because there has been no identification or synthesis of the active substances within shark cartilage. The fact remains, however, that natural dried shark cartilage powder, though crude, appears to be yielding positive results on numerous medical fronts.*

Powdered Shark Cartilage

Powdered shark cartilage is available in bulk power form, which is usually mixed with water or fruit juice and taken orally or mixed with water and taken rectally via a rectal retention enema. Powdered shark cartilage is also available encapsulated in gelatin capsules or pressed into caplets which are taken orally.

Whether sold as bulk powder or in capsules or caplets, it is still powdered shark cartilage. Purchasing shark cartilage in its bulk powdered form has the advantage of being much less expensive (usually 30% - 40%) due to the increased manufacturing processes involved in producing capsules or caplets. Powdered shark cartilage capsules, despite the increased cost, appeal to many consumers because they are more convenient and/or because many people find the taste and smell of bulk powder unpleasant. At higher dosages, gelatin capsules, because of the need to take so many, may cause digestive problems. Thus, the type of product used in many cases may be dictated by the dosage and/or the individuals personal ability to tolerate oral doses. In advanced cancer patients, for example, enzymes and other nutrients are more effective when administered via retention enema than when taken orally.*

Components of Powdered Shark Cartilage

Simple chemical analysis shows that unadulterated dry shark cartilage powder is approximately 41 percent ash, 39 percent protein, 12 percent carbohydrates, 7 percent water, less than 1 percent fiber, and less than 0.3 percent fat. The ash is 60 percent calcium and phosphorus at a ratio of two parts calcium to one part phosphorus. Almost no heavy metals are found in the ash because without blood vessels in the cartilage, there is no way for the heavy metals, often found in minimal amounts in shark meat, to be deposited in the shark cartilage. The high levels of calcium and phosphorus are the result of calcification of the cartilage, especially of the backbone cartilage.

Although the protein that is the angiogenesis inhibitor is diluted to some degree by the calcium, phosphorus, carbohydrates, and other natural components, the diluents play an active role in disease control. The mucopolysaccharides in the carbohydrates stimulate the immune system, which works synergistically with the protein in fighting disease, and the organic calcium and phosphorus are used metabolically as nutrients.*

How Powdered Shark Cartilage Should Be Produced

Any shark cartilage product, to ensure quality and reliability, must be properly processed. The processing of dry powdered shark cartilage involves four basic steps: (1) Cleaning; (2) Drying; (3) Pulverizing and (4) Sterilizing. These processes must be accomplished without rendering the active protein fibers ineffective.

Much research, testing, and management necessarily is involved in the development and production of high quality shark cartilage products suitable for human consumption. Processing shark cartilage without rendering the active protein fibers ineffective presents major problems, many of which are not addressed by manufacturers of inferior shark cartilage products.*

Conventional cleaning, drying, pulverization, and sterilization processes with their excessive heat and/or use of harsh solvents or chemicals often denature the active protein and render the cartilage therapeutically valueless. Proteins are easily denatured by heat and other manufacturing processes and by various chemicals like solvents and acids that are designed to remove fats and other unneeded components.*

The central strands of protein that make up the heart of shark cartilage are among the largest proteins produced by any cells. It is these strands, called macro proteins, that appear to carry the angiogenesis inhibitor; and it is these strands, so prevalent in shark cartilage, that give the cartilage 1,000 times the antiangiogenesis effect of mammalian cartilage. When looking at a piece of shark cartilage, you can see the strands containing the antiangiogenesis inhibitor in the matrices of all the components.*

These strands are very tough and almost impossible to pulverize, yet they are the material essential to antiangiogenesis. Thus, in order to produce an effective shark cartilage, it is essential that these strands be pulverized without denaturing the protein from which they are made. In addition, the abundant water content of cartilage (cartilage is more than 85 percent water) and the way in which the water is bound within the cartilage also make drying difficult and costly. Heat must be used sparingly since excessive heat is damaging.*

In shark cartilage, at least one of the proteins active as an angiogenesis inhibitor is denatured if processing temperatures are elevated. Furthermore, both the cartilage and the protein within it are inactivated if they are treated with solvents like acetone or submitted to strong acids for extended periods. Fortunately, there is practically no fat attached to shark cartilage, so solvent extraction as a processing step is unnecessary. In the processing of bovine cartilage, which normally has a fairly high amount of fat clinging to it, solvent extraction is needed to keep the product from turning rancid. The acetone used to remove the fat connected to bovine cartilage denatures the already modest amount of angiogenesis-inhibiting protein.*

Particle size, which is dependent on how well pulverized a material is, is another consideration. Shark cartilage must be absorbed into the system as quickly as possible to prevent the protein from being digested by proteolytic enzymes. If digested by these enzymes, the protein is broken down into its constituent amino acids, which are not effective in antiangiogenesis. The preformed protein, rather, is what is effective as the angiogenesis inhibitor. Shark cartilage powder must therefore be pulverized finely enough to be quickly absorbed into the body system as a suspension of preformed protein. Experience has shown that at least 90 percent must pass through a 200-mesh screen for maximum effectiveness. This is finer than most talcum powders.*

After conducting years of research and experimentation, Dr. I. William Lane developed a process for cleaning, drying, pulverizing and sterilizing shark cartilage that ensures quality and reliability without rendering the active protein fibers ineffective.* Dr Lane's process is so effective and innovative, in 1991 he was awarded a patent on the process. (Click here to view the actual text of Dr. Lane's US Patent No. 5,075,112.)

In his book, SHARKS DON'T GET CANCER, Dr Lane had the following to say about his patent:

It is estimated that only about three patents have ever been issued to the health-food industry. Patents are difficult tods because hard evidence about such foods' effectiveness is often not available. Representatives of the health-food industry also do not usually seek patents, as do representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. Many food supplements are effective products, but proving their effectiveness is difficult, and sometimes test procedures don't exist. Since the evidence of shark cartilage's ability to inhibit angiogenesis can be proven by the CAM assay and the results of the xenograft studies conducted at the Institut Jules Bordet, I did apply for a patent. The patent was issued to me on Christmas Eve 1991.o obtain for health fo It reads in part: "This invention relates generally to a method of, and a dosage unit for, inhibiting angiogenesis or vascularization in an animal having an intestinal wall utilizing an effective amount of shark cartilage, particularly finely divided shark cartilage, for passing through the intestinal wall as a suspension for inhibiting, inter alia, tumor growth and metastasis, in particular Kaposi sarcoma; arthritis, in particular rheumatoid arthritis; diabetic retinopathy and neovascular glaucoma; psoriasis and inflammatory diseases with vascular component." *

This patent will give the consumer protection against the "copycat" products that often haunt successful health-food products not protected by patent. Copycat products--the manufacturers of which are spurred by the desire to make a profit--may not be produced with the care needed to assure quality. The products may not even undergo the testing necessary to assure effectiveness. This is a particularly serious problem with a shark-cartilage product since the cartilage requires proper processing to ensure quality and reliability. The proper method of processing shark cartilage took months--if not years--to perfect. As the patent says, "It will be understood that the shark cartilage useful in the method of the present invention may be prepared by any suitable means or process to result in shark cartilage that is substantially pure shark cartilage, substantially free from adhering tissue." *

With the patent issued on Christmas Eve, I received the best Christmas present I could have, but the United States Patent Office also gave a gift to all hopeful and potential users of shark cartilage. The patent will legally stop copycat manufacturers and distributors so that maximum effort can be devoted to improving the quality of shark cartilage to provide its users with maximum benefit.*

Dr. Lane's original patent (US Patent No. 5,075,112) has been assigned to Cartilage Technologies, Inc. (now Atrium Biothreapies, Inc.), the makers of CARTILADE® brand shark cartilage, the world's leading brand of shark cartilage. Dr. Lane has continued to work on new methods of producing shark cartilage and other shark cartilage products.

Angiogenesis and its Relationship to Cancer and Other Degenerative Diseases

Angiogenesis is a natural physiological function. It refers to the process by which new blood vessels form and grow. Angiogenesis is also involved in the progression of different diseases. Cancerous tumors, for example, require a network of blood vessels to act as conduits for oxygen and nutrients. In addition, this vascular network allows cancerous cells to invade the rest of the body, a process called metastasis.

Angiogenesis inhibitors block the formation of these new blood vessels. Without the nourishment these blood vessels supply, cancerous cells are starved, and tumors cannot grow.

How Angiogenesis Promotes the Development of Cancer

Angiogenesis performs a critical role in the development of cancer.

Solid tumors smaller than 1 to 2 cubic millimeters are not vascularized. To spread, they need to be supplied by blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients and remove metabolic wastes.

Beyond the critical volume of 2 cubic millimeters, oxygen and nutrients have difficulty diffusing to the cells in the center of the tumor, causing a state of cellular hypoxia that marks the onset of tumbrel angiogenesis.

New blood vessel development is an important process in tumor progression. It favors the transition from hyperplasia to neoplasm i.e. the passage from a state of cellular multiplication to a state of uncontrolled proliferation characteristic of tumor cells.

Neovascularization also influences the dissemination of cancer cells throughout the entire body eventually leading to metastasis formation. The vascularization level of a solid tumor is thought to be an excellent indicator of its metastatic potential.

Role of Angiogenesis in Psoriasis

Chronic inflammation of the tissue underlying the epidermis in psoriatic skin creates a strong angiogenic signal. Several studies have shown a high detectable blood flow in the psoriatic plaques.

The inducing factors for new blood vessels depends, among other things, on many angiogenic growth factors. These are present in psoriatic patches and produced by keratinocytes.

This supports observations that the psoriasis initiating factor resides in the keratinocyte and that a significant vascular proliferation is required to cause hyperplasia of the epidermis. Hence, inhibiting neovascularization would be an indirect means of counteracting psoriatic plaque formation. Shark cartilage, a angiogenesis inhibitor is currently being studied as potential therapy for psoriasis.

More than six million people suffer from psoriasis in North America. Up to 250,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. The overall cost of treating psoriasis in the United States is about $3 billion to $5 billion per year.

Current systemic treatments for psoriasis have significant side effects. The most used treatments for psoriasis are topical applications. Current treatments include keratolytic agents, corticosteroids, tar (especially coal tar), vitamin D3 derivatives, anthralin and topical antimitotic agents. These treatments, however, are often messy, have an unpleasant odor, and are repetitive and tedious for patients.

More practical systemic treatments are riskier due to potential side effects. The most common is the antimitotic agent, methotrexate. Other treatments are PUVA and UVBs. Some combination of phototherapy and another antipsoriatic agent can be used. All of these treatments have side effects of varying significance. Using antiangiogenic agents to treat psoriasis is a relatively new approach.*

Shark Cartilage as an Angiogenesis Inhibitor and Potential Aid in the Fight Against Cancer and other Angiogenesis-Dependent Diseases

As early as the 1970s, Dr. Judah Folkman of the Harvard Medical School suggested inhibiting new blood vessel formation as a way to fight cancer.

In 1983, two researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a study showing that shark cartilage contains a substance that significantly inhibits the development of blood vessels that nourish solid tumors, thereby limiting tumor growth.

Working independently, medical researchers at Harvard University Medical School found that if one could inhibit angiogenesis--the development of a new blood network--one could prevent the development of tumor-based cancer and metastasis.

In his book, SHARKS DON'T GET CANCER--HOW SHARK CARTILAGE COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE, Dr. I. William Lane ties together these two important findings regarding shark cartilage and angiogenesis. Dr. Lane also recounts his own involvement in the search for a truly effective treatment of tumor-based cancer and examines the work of researchers who have conducted studies that indicate that shark cartilage can be effective in reducing cancer related tumors and also reduce the inflammation and pain associated with other conditions, such as arthritis, psoriasis and enteritis.

Because there are so many cancer victims who have been advised, after undergoing "conventional" treatments--surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy--that there is nothing more conventional medicine can do for them, it is clear that research into alternative approaches, such as shark cartilage, should be explored.

Indeed, given the fact that shark cartilage has no toxic side-effects, those who have been advised that conventional medicine can do nothing more to help them have little to lose by exploring shark cartilage as an alternative.

Shark Cartilage: "What Are the Theories for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer and Other Diseases Involving Neovascularization?"

Recently, shark cartilage has generated intense interest in both public and medical circles because of the theoretical justification for its clinical use in diseases, including cancer, psoriasis, age-related macular degeneration and arthritis, which involve neovascularization (angiogenesis). This interest is further fueled by clinical trials and recent patents which have demonstrated its anti-tumor activity and its ability to relieve pain and inflammation associated with tumor activity and diseases involving angiogenesis.

While there are many publications outlining the theories supporting why scientists believe shark cartilage has so many therapeutic benefits, public interest in shark cartilage was first generated by writings and research first tied together by Dr. I. William Lane. We have asked Dr. Lane, and he has been gracious enough to allow us to reprint one of his early papers on the therapeutic benefits of shark cartilage. This article, which follows, is not nearly as informative as his book, SHARKS DON'T GET CANCER. However, in this relatively-brief article, Dr. Lane provides a cogent summary of much of the early research and many of the theories on the therapeutic benefits of shark cartilage.

Shark Cartilage Therapy -- A Personal History of it's Development*
I. William Lane, Ph.D.

The use of shark cartilage in the complementary treatment of non-responsive solid cancer tumors has become widely used worldwide; approximately 25,000 patients are using the therapy today. Initially, shark cartilage usage was strictly patient-driven, but more recently it is suggested by doctors when conventional cancer therapies have not helped patients. Certainly, most oncologists will agree that, despite the progress in treating cancer, the lack of a real breakthrough is frustrating and many oncologists state they themselves would not use chemotherapy if they develop cancer. In fact, many calls that come in to me are from physicians on behalf of themselves or members of their families. Yet, they are reluctant to recommend shark cartilage to patients because of concerns relating to malpractice suits. The book Sharks Don't Get Cancer, which I coauthored, is now published in more than 15 languages and has been widely read, and the therapeutic regimen is followed by countless people who felt hopeless about surviving their cancers. I like to think that the correct, and I must stress the word correct, use of a good shark cartilage, in adequate dosage levels, has helped thousands of such patients. Shark cartilage therapy has caught the attention of all levels of practitioners, but it is hard for many of them to believe that so simple an approach can work with such a stubborn disease. However, despite the controversy, many who have tried and correctly used shark cartilage are talking about it in highly positive terms.

Much more research has been undertaken than most people realize and the undisputable fact is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)--after carefully weighing the clinical evidence--has recently granted full Investigational New Drug (IND) permission for phase 2 clinical trials on both advanced nonresponsive prostate cancer as well as on advanced Kaposi's sarcoma. This lends material credence to the work. These phase 2 trials will soon be under way in one of the most prestigious medical centers in the Midwest. To date, I have personally funded the research, so inexpensive facilities and groups had to be found. Still, the unusually large and long positive responses should partially offset the lack of peer review.

This history of my work with shark cartilage as well as the benchmarks that originally opened the door of my curiosity will explain why and how interest developed. As a student at Cornell and later at Rutgers I had the good fortune to be exposed to the thinking of two Nobel Laureates, James B. Sumner, Ph.D., and Selman Waksman, M.D., Ph.D. I learned to look for the unusual and ask "Why?" As a so-called fisheries expert, I first became interested in the shark when the Shah of Iran asked me to look into developing, for him, a possible fishery in the Persian Gulf, an area that abounds in shark. As I read and inquired about the topic, it became obvious that this incredible living machine called shark had survived literally unchanged for 300 million years; it was a prehistoric creature, and it rarely got cancer even though almost all other sea creatures get a lot of cancer, especially since pollution of the oceans has increased materially.

The "Why?" was partially answered when I met, and read the work of, John Prudden, M.D., who was working with bovine cartilage as an immune stimulator, wound healing, and anticancer agent. However, the real "Why?" was answered when, in 1983, Anne Lee, Ph.D., and Robert Langer, Ph.D.,5 published a paper that illustrated that shark cartilage inhibited angiogenesis and tumor growth. I learned of this study via CNN NEWS, which, along with many popular newspapers and TV programs, publicized this incredible response. I immediately visited Dr. Langer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and he told me that, although his work was done with a complex extract, whole but undenatured shark cartilage would probably produce an even better effect. Dr. Langer later denied having this conversation, but it took place in his office in September 1983 and it was the starting point of my piqued interest. I then read much of the work of Judah Folkman, M.D., on the theory of inhibiting angiogenesis as a mechanism to stop tumor growth. I also read the work of another Harvard researcher which said that the avascular tissues were the logical place to find the angiogenic inhibitors. Based on the published work just cited and my own desire to develop a practical "how and why," the concept behind the shark cartilage product developed.

Cartilage Theory Gets Support

By 1984, I was able to bring 200 pounds of frozen clean shark cartilage to the United States from Panama. Working for four years with the original 200 pounds of shark cartilage, plus other shark cartilage as needed, and with the assistance of friends in the processing industry, I was able to learn how to dry best without denaturing, pulverize with minimal heat (a major feat), and encapsulate (often in my own kitchen). Via the chicken chorioallan membrane assay, a crude assay to measure inhibition of angiogenesis, I could measure my progress.

By 1987 George Escher, M.D., introduced my work to Henri Tagnon, M.D.,who headed the Institut Jules Bordet in Brussels, Belgium, a major cancer research center in Europe. After listening to my theory, Dr. Tagnon gave me my first break when he offered, in connection with Dr. Ghanem Atassi, Ph.D., to run a xenograph in nude mice. I still remember Dr. Tagnon's words after he and Dr. Atassi heard my story: "This is too good to believe but it also is too good not to believe." After running a rat toxicity study, they ran animal studies that culminated in a xenograph using nude mice in which MEXF514 human melanoma was induced subcutaneously and my shark cartilage preparation was given orally in suspension. Saline was given orally to the control mice. The results showed almost complete tumor inhibition by the orally administered shark cartilage.

This animal work led to a study in Mexico at the Hospital Ernesto Contreras, where there were eight nonpaying, terminal cancer patients (seven women and one man), whose cancers had failed to respond to other therapies. Six different types of tumors were presented. This work, published by Ernesto Contreras, M.D., and me, showed major responses in seven of the eight patients: five were tumor-free, two had an 80 percent tumor reduction. There was only one death in eleven weeks. The only therapy was a special high potency shark cartilage material made from shark fin fibers. This product contained 91 percent protein, 8 percent water, and, at most, only 1 percent carbohydrate. The product was administered rectally at the rate of 30 gm/patient daily in two equal doses. Unfortunately, because of both a lack of funds and sufficient test material, no follow-up was undertaken to determine advanced survival as was later done in the Cuban study.

The first Mexican study led to a second study at a second clinic in Mexico, the Hoxsey Clinic, where, under the control of Roscoe Van Zandt, M.D., eight breast cancer patients were given shark cartilage orally at the rate of 60 gm/ patient/day. After eight weeks all of the tumors had significantly reduced in size. A special herbal tonic was administered along with the shark cartilage. No other therapies were undertaken. In three cases the tumors had become encapsulated and in two cases, where the tumors had been attached to the chest wall, they had become detached and free-floating. These results were not published in medical journals but were reported in my book.

Because shark fin is very expensive and scarce, we decided to use whole shark cartilage product in the Hoxsey study but at double the dosage level used in the earlier Contreras study. The active protein fibers in shark fin and shark cartilage were the same, but in the cartilage the protein fibers were diluted with a matrix of calcium/phosphorus/carbohydrate. By doubling the dose, we were able to produce approximately the same amount of the active protein. (There are four active proteins in the protein fibrous strands, all of which are active angiogenic inhibitors. These have been identified by the unpublished work of K.P. Wong, Ph.D., of Fresno State University, Fresno, CA. I believe that these four proteins are the ones on which most, if not all, of the anticancer effect we are getting with shark cartilage is based. The earliest study in Mexico was done with a 91 percent protein product and the excellent response seems to support my position.)

Cuban Study Initiated

Based on the human trials in Mexico, I was anxious to run a large clinical trial. However, my personal resources made a costly trial in the United States impossible. All the work on shark cartilage had been supported by more than $180,000 of my personal funds, a point that many critics ignore. Fortunately, I met a large group of Cubans who, after hearing of my work, invited me to meet with their health officials. I and two associates traveled to Cuba through Mexico. The meetings with the Cuban Health Ministry- and the Cuban military health officials eventually led to my being invited to do a study on nonresponsive terminal cancer patients. The Cubans agreed to provide me with 29 patients and a team of five oncologists, seven nurses, and the best possible followup. The Cuban study has, as a result of the extensive coverage and story by Mike Wallace and "60 Minutes," become a legend.

Earlier, I had been contacted by CBS and "60 Minutes." The station wanted to go ahead with the story, which the station had initially looked upon as a scam. For the visit on the sixth week of therapy, I, thus, was accompanied by David Williams, D.C., the editor of the health newsletter Alternatives, five people from "60 Minutes" (including the producer Gail Eisen, who was medically oriented and initially very negative about the story), and Charles Simone, M.D., a consultant who I had asked to help me evaluate the results. It was clear to all of us that a number of the patients were already responding. Except for Dr. Simone, who joined us at 16 weeks, this same group visited again at 11 weeks and again at 16 weeks. We were joined at this time by Mike Wallace, who stayed with us in Cuba for three days to review the results and to do filming.

At this time, the Cubans had added FernandezBritto, M.D., a world-class pathologist, to the team. He showed, for the first time, autopsy pathologic slides that demonstrated the action of the shark cartilage in stimulating the rapid growth of fibrin tissue replacing and encapsulating the cancer cells. His slides, which now include "before" and "after" biopsy slides, add materially to the explanation of how and if shark cartilage works. "60 Minutes" later showed X-ray pictures along with blood work records to Eli Gladstein, M.D., of the University of Southwestern Texas for collaboration; Dr. Gladstein confirmed the findings and he did so without knowing that shark cartilage was the therapeutic agent. The "60 Minutes" team was so excited about these results that it broadcast the show within 10 days after their tape was finished; and they showed it twice, something that is rarely done. The team also promoted the story each time for four days prior to each broadcast. Fortunately, this show had a budget that was large enough to truly study the effects, see the patients, and then report on the positive results they themselves observed. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), on the other hand, surprisingly, never took the time to hear the whole presentation, see the slides, talk to me, or talk to the interested doctors.

Of the original 29 terminal patients, nine (31 percent) died of cancer, all within the first 17 weeks; none have died of cancer since; six others have died of accidents, heart failure, or other natural causes; 14 (48 percent) are completely well and cancer-free after 34 months (almost three years) as of June 15, 1995. After the 60 gm/day of shark cartilage for 16 weeks, these patients went to the maintenance dose of 20 gm/day, which appears to have been keeping them well for almost three years. With stage IV cancer patients, this is very impressive, even incredible, even if one or two patients might have been at stage III rather than at stage IV at the outset. All cancers had been biopsy-confirmed. The head Cuban oncologist, Dr. Menendez, told me recently, "In my history as an oncologist, I have never seen or experienced anything like this response with shark cartilage."

Summing Up

The possibility of culturing shark cartilage cells to avoid reliance on sharks themselves is being developed with Dr. Wong. Meanwhile, millions of sharks, formerly caught only for their valuable fins, are now also being used for their cartilage. No shark is being killed expressly for its cartilage. The plant in Brisbane, Australia, is currently importing 2-4 40-foot frozen containers of semicleaned shark cartilage monthly.

The work on shark cartilage has already been partially reported in 1993 and 1994 at two peer medical conferences. The most recent report took place at the First Annual International Congress on Alternative and Complementary Medicine in Alexandria, Virginia, in May 1995.

I am proud that I was willing to put my own money on the table to develop the shark cartilage therapy, and I will defend the results as will others who have seen the responses. Peer review is a cornerstone of our system but other results, if well documented and supported, should not just be discarded and ridiculed. The poor results with conventional cancer therapy should suggest that any new therapy that seems promising should be investigated, especially if it is inexpensive, nontoxic, and noninvasive. In these times of uncontrolled health costs, and the cancer epidemic that does not seem to be abating, all possibilities deserve attention.


1. Lane, I.W., Comac, L. Sharks Don't Get Cancer . Garden City, NY. Avery Publishing Group, 1992, updated 1993.

2. Prudden, J.F., Balassa, L. The Biological Activity of Bovine Cartilage Preparations. Semin Arthritis Rheum 3:287-321, 1974.

3. Prudden, J.F. The Treatment of Human Cancer with Agents Prepared from Bovine Cartilage. J Biol Response Modifiers 4:551-584, 1985.

4. Rosen, J., Sherman, W.T., Prudden, J.F., Thorbecke* G.J. Immunoregulatory Effects of Catrix. J Biol Response Modifiers 7:498-512, 1988.

5. Lee, A., Langer, R. Shark Cartilage Contains Inhibitors of Tumor Angiogenesis. Science 221:1185-1187, 1983.

6. Folkman, J., Tumor Angiogenesis: a Possible Control Point in Tumor Growth. Ann Intern Med 82:96-100, 1975.

7. Folkman, J. Klagsbrun. Angiogenic Factors. Science 235:442-447, 1987.

8. D'Amore, P.A., Angiogenesis as a Strategy for Antimetastasis. Semin Thrombosis Hemostasis 14:73-77, 1988.

9. Lane, I.W. Shark Cartilage: Its Potential Medical Applications. J Advan Med 4:263-271, 1991.

10. Lane, I.W., Contreras, Jr., E. High Rate of Bioactivity (Reduction in Tumor Size) Observed in Advanced Cancer Patients Treated with Shark Cartilage Material. J Naturopathic Med 3:85-88, 1992.

11. Ibid., ref. 1, pp. 99-100.

12. Fernandez-Britto, J., Lane, I.W. Angiogenesis Modulation in Peritumoral Connective Tissue by Cartilage from Shark, the Cuban Experience. XVII World Congress of Anatomic and Clinical Pathology , 1993, Mexico.

13. Lane, I.W.Current Medical Implications of Shark Cartilage VIII International Congress on Senology (Breast Diseases) , 1994, Brazil.

I. William Lane, Ph.D., is Founder and chairman of Cartilage Consultants, Short Hills, New Jersey. He is also a coauthor of Sharks Don't Get Cancer , a summary of his research with shark cartilage as a treatment for cancer, for which he received a U. S. patent in 1991. Dr. Lane holds a Ph.. D. from Rutgers University (Agricultural Biochemistry and Nutrition), an M.S. from Cornell University (Nutritional Science) and a B.S. from Cornell University. Dr Lane was also fortunate to study under two Nobel Prize winners. Dr. J. Summer of Cornell who won the Nobel for crystallizing the first enzyme (urease) and Dr. S. Waksman of Rutgers for streptomycin.

Health care professionals and the natural products industry recognize Cartilade as the “gold standard” of shark cartilage powders. In 1996, Cartilade was the honorable recipient of the Retailers Choice Vity Award, for bone and joint discomfort*.

It is an excellent “stand-alone” product as well as a value-added ingredient to all joint formulas. No other herbal or joint support ingredient has the same properties as Cartilade.*

Healthy joints depend on the fragile balance of construction and destruction to ensure cartilage renewal.*

Glycosaminoglycans provide the building materials for healthy joints that are not only a part of the process.*

CARTILADE ® provides glycosaminoglycans AND inhibitors of destructive enzymes (MMP2) to help maintain the health of joints.*

* Each capsule contains 740 mg pure 100% Cartilade shark cartilage powder
* Each scoop of powder contains 4.4 g of pure 100% Cartilade shark cartilage powder
* The only joint formula with proven anti-enzymatic (MMP) properties, all the necessary properties for natural, healthy joints.

*Six Capsules Contain:  

Active Ingredients

4% Daily Value

2 g

78% Daily Value

0.78 g

40% Daily Value
0.4 g
3% Daily Value
12 mg
3% Daily Value
0.5 mg
Shark Cartilage
100 % Pure Dried Shark Cartilage with no Additives or Fillers
740 mg

Other Ingredients
Store At Room Temperature

Suggested Use
As a dietary supplement, 2 capsules/caplets before meals, 3 times a day or as directed by your health care professional.

Do not use if you are pregnant or lactating. Do not use if you have experienced recent surgery, have a cardiovascular condition or are under 12 years of age.

Cartilade Product Information

Cartilade® products have been sold in the dietary supplement industry for 15 years in North America and worldwide. Cartilade brand shark cartilage is produced under proprietary methods that result in the most effective shark cartilage powder available as a dietary supplement.*

New research regarding Cartilade® shows that it has been proven to be the superior brand of cartilage powder as demonstrated by in vitro assay. Cartilade® has been demonstrated to be completely safe when used as directed and over 500 million doses have been used worldwide.*

Cartilade® typically contains 12% chondroitin, Type II collagen, 35% protein and 50% minerals essential for connective tissue synthesis. More importantly, Cartilade exhibits the highest activity of MMP inhibition, or the highest inhibition of catabolic activity of the connective tissues and joints. It is the only shark cartilage brand with this proven activity.*

Potential Applications

Cartilade contains the essential components for overall joint health. Several human and animal pilot studies confirm the benefits of Cartilade in joint and connective tissues health. New research regarding Cartilade show that it has been proven to be the superior brand of cartilage powder as demonstrated by in vitro assay. Cartilade has been demonstrated to be completely safe when used as directly and over 500 million doses have been used worldwide. Cartilade is appropriate for adults and children over 12 year of age.*

Potential Mode of Action

In addition to glycosaminoglycans, proteins such as collagen and elastin, Cartilade® inhibits the enzymatic activity of MMP. MMPs represent a special class of catabolic enzymes that target and cleave fibrous proteins of the extracellular matrix. Cartilade supports the delicate balance of the destruction activity of connective tissues by MMP enzymes and the reconstruction of the same tissues.*

* Cartilade® is 100% pure dried shark cartilage with no additives.
* Contains Calcium and Phosphorus in the ideal 2:1 ratio
* Glucosamine-like compounds, and Type II collagen
* 12% Chondroitin
* Inhibits MMP-2 (gelatinase) enzymatic avtivity
* Contains chondroitin, glycosaminoglycans and other essential nutrients for joint health*

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Cartilade 90 caps
Cartilade 180 caps
cartilade Powder 500 grams