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Gay Men's Health Crisis
Common Alternative Therapies: Shark Cartilage
Bree Scott-Hartland
December 1, 1993
GMHC Treatment Issues 1993/94 Winter; 7(11/12): 23

Shark cartilage is rich in an angiogenesis inhibiting protein called Cartilage- derived Inhibitor. Angiogenesis is the process whereby new blood vessels are formed to feed cancer, particularly solid tumors, such as Kaposi's sarcoma.[1, 2] In June 1992, a small community-based study of shark cartilage as a monotherapy treatment for Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) in PWAs was begun by SEARCH Alliance in Los Angeles. Preliminary anecdotal results reported by Dr. Fleischman of the group were disappointing. Of thirteen patients, only six were evaluable at study's end. A dose of 60 grams of shark cartilage was administered by retention enema two to four times a day. This means of administering the compound proved to be impractical so patients took the same dose orally. Patients reported an "extremely foul taste" and nausea associated with therapy. There was no discernible regression of KS lesions after two to three months of follow-up.

1. Lee, A. and Langer, R. Science 221:1185�7.

2. Oikawa T, et al. Cancer Letter. 1990; 51:181�6.

3. Fleischman, E. SEARCHLIGHT March/April, 1993:2.

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