Ever since shark cartilage was suspected to have anticancer properties, research has increased tremendously. The initial research has sparked so much interest, a drug named Neovastat AE-941 was developed. AE-941 is a highly concentrated form of marine cartilage specifically derived from the dogfish shark. This highly concentrated shark cartilage extract should not be confused with the standard shark cartilage found in supplement form. They are both totally different in terms of concentration and bio-availability.
Research shows marine cartilage as a whole, is anti-angiogenic, the ability to inhibit blood vessels from growing. This very same mode of action, is used by many other popular cancer drugs, like Avastin. Blood vessel inhibitors have proved to be extremely successful in certain types of cancers. However, can marine cartilage show the same benefit when tested on humans?
Standard Shark Cartilage.
The standard form of shark extract that can be found online or in various health stores failed in human studies. A phase 1/2 trial tested Shark extract on 60 advanced cancer patients. Study concluded that the single agent was inactive and no effect on quality of life was noticed. Another study in 2005 tested 83 advanced cancer patients and found no difference between survival and quality of life vs placebo.
The highly concentrated form of marine cartilage has had slightly positive results. A 2002 phase 2 study showed the higher of two doses used, had a survival benefit in refractory renal cell carcinoma patients. Another non-small-cell lung cancer study in 2003, showed a 26% and 14% stable disease at the high and low dosage. However, both studies did not observe any tumor responses. In both studies, drug was well tolerated and no major side effects were observed.
AE-941 With Chemo.
When AE-941 was combined with chemotherapy in a 2010 lung cancer study, it did not improve overall survival. Study showed use of marine cartilage products are not supported as therapy for lung cancer.
Like usual, the real results never meet the expectations of the hype. As a supplement you can buy online, standard shark cartilage failed not once, but twice. The promises of a cure and everything else you read online is just a way to get your cash. Other treatments that include shark cartilage, like Cellect, should be avoided at all costs. Products that include things that have already been proven to fail in studies, lose all credibility, and should be #1 on your do not try list.
Neovastat AE-941 on the other hand might be different. The real results still came in far below expectations. Better then the standard form, but not by much. At the very most, this shark extract can produce stable disease with no recorded ability to shrink tumors. Maybe this extract can be more beneficial to less advanced cancer patients? Or maybe this extract can be used as a starting point to create a more effective variant. Either way, more research and work needs to be done so better results can be reached. Bottom-line, don’t let the very limited success of this drug justify using a standard version of a shark cartilage extract marketed to help cancer patients.