Shark Blood May Slow the Spread of Cancer

Scientists in Australia have discovered antibodies in the blood of sharks that could potentially prove effective in battling cancer.




It has been discovered that the antibodies (molecules that fight disease) in sharks are extremely resilient and researchers hope that this quality can be isolated to help slow the spread of cancer, malaria, and other human diseases.

The Australian team discovered that shark antibodies were tough and able to survive in both very acidic and very alkaline settings. This is important as it means that a “shark pill” would still be effective within the very acidic environment of the human stomach.

The team found that the shark molecules can actually latch on to cancer molecules and stop them from spreading.

Associate Prof Mick Foley from Melbourne’s La Trobe University said: “The cells actually grow less than where we don’t add a shark antibody or we add a completely irrelevant shark antibody. So this indicates the shark antibody that we have is binding to those cancer cells and for some reason causing them to grow more slowly and perhaps even killing them.”

Sharks were singled out for this study because they are known to have very strong immune systems and don’t often catch infections. It is hoped that shark blood will prove effective for other diseases as well, such as malaria and rheumatoid arthritis.

Source: BBC

Photo: Flickr under a Creative Commons License