Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of
Religion and Medicine

by Dr. Richard P. Sloan, PhD
Blockbuster New Book tackling the thorny issues about religion, prayer and medicine. If you've been told that you have an incurable illness, and that prayer will help --- think again.

This book will open your eyes. Dr. Sloan is a professor at the Columbia University School of Medicine and he introduces us to the major players in this new area of Christian evangelism. The studies purporting to show any health benefits from going to church or "being religious" are all so flawed as to render them useless. Using his epidemiological knowledge, Sloan carefully shows the reader how one should analyze claims from the media and claims in journals that purport to show a connection between religious behavior and improved health.

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Shark Cartilage - Is it a scam or a cure for cancer?

Shark cartilage hunter?In their ignorance and greed for money, money, and more money, so-called "homeopathic" and "health food" manufacturers and distributors are not only ignoring the real evidence, but practicing deceptive marketing; misquoting scientists, misrepresenting the results of scientific study, misinforming consumers, preying on and giving terminal cancer patients false hope, (and taking their money), by pushing the product as a cure for cancer in humans. Even K-Mart proudly advertises, "We now have shark cartilage!"

One American-owned shark cartilage factory in Costa Rica destroys more than 111,000 sharks per year -- some estimates place the figure for sharks killed in American waters for cartilage above 200,000 sharks every month.

Kevin Lundquist - Nautilus Productions

Shark cartilage in the news

Lane Labs Slapped Hard

October 25, 2005

Company to offer millions in refunds over products' cancer claims

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A supplement maker that wrongly claimed its shark-cartilage and other products had cancer-fighting benefits plans to refund customers millions of dollars.

Lane Labs USA-Inc. has tentatively agreed to return up to $8 million to customers who bought three products targeted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, company attorney Paul Fishman said Monday.

Last year, a federal judge agreed with an FDA request to ban the Allendale, N.J.-based company from selling the three products and allowed the agency to order customer restitution.

Supplement makers cannot claim their products can treat, prevent or cure specific diseases without approval from the FDA, which Lane Labs did not obtain.

The company lost its appeal Friday.

Lane Labs and founder Andrew Lane can no longer sell BeneFin, made from shark cartilage, as a treatment for cancer; SkinAnswer, a glycoalkaloid cream, as a treatment for skin cancer; and MGN-3, a rice-bran extract, as a treatment for cancer and HIV.

The products were sold in health-food stores and over the Internet.

--- On the Net: Lane Labs: www.lanelabs.com

Shark cartilage research

  • Evaluation of shark cartilage in patients with advanced cancer - CANCER - May 23, 2005 This trial was unable to demonstrate any suggestion of efficacy for this shark cartilage product in patients with advanced cancer. Cancer 2005. 2005 American Cancer Society.

  • Risks outweigh benefits of shark cartilage as anti-cancer treatment - May 23, 2005 As a treatment for advanced cancer, shark cartilage fails to benefit patients and its adverse effects lead to poor compliance. A clinical trial published in the July 1, 2005 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, finds there was no difference in overall survival or quality of life between patients who received shark cartilage and those who received a placebo.

  • CancerNet - U.S. National Cancer Institute - In depth review of past research, with references on status of official research.

  • Shark cartilage extract may fight cancer - Mar. 1998 - UPI Science News reports from American Association for Cancer Research in New Orleans. Don't get excited folks, it's a mouse tumour study. One of the primary Canadian researchers said that patients who were treated with the drug used less pain medication than those who did not. This led one of them to make the unsupported statement that "suggests that the drug may be fighting tumors". Obviously the headlines about these preliminary reports were meant to garner favour with funding agencies, and will obviously make those who sell shark cartilage a pile of money. It's another case of the news media jumping the gun.

  • Angiogenesis Foundation The Angiogenesis Foundation, located in the U.S., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, founded in 1994 by Harvard-trained clinicians and scientists who studied during the 1980s under Dr. Judah Folkman, the pioneer of angiogenesis research. The vision of the founders is that angiogenesis-based therapies will revolutionize medicine by providing a common denominator approach to a broad range of society’s most dreaded diseases including cancer, heart disease, stroke, blindness, arthritis, psoriasis, and 70 other conditions. Angiogenesis therapies promise to become the "antibiotics of the 21st century".

  • Trial Starts of Shark Cartilage for Cancer - Dec. 1998 The U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) and a Canadian biotechnology company said on Wednesday they were starting advanced trials of a new cancer drug made from shark cartilage. It is the first shark compound to be tested by the NCI, which has resisted pressure from alternative medicine advocates who believe sharks have unique abilities to fight cancer in their bodies.

Science or Science Fiction:
Alternative cancer treatment

  • Skeptic's definition of shark cartilage as cancer cure Powdered shark cartilage has been touted as a cancer cure, especially by William Lane, Ph.D., whose company produces the stuff under the name of BeneFin. Lane has written two books, both with the false claim that sharks don't get cancer in their title. Sharks do get cancer, even cancer of their cartilage.

  • Children with cancer treated with shark cartilage Skeptical Inquirer Sept. 1998 Doctors from Alberta Children's Hospital in Canada reported two cases in which parents opted to treat their children's cancer with shark cartilage or the herb astragalus instead of standard medicines. In both cases, the cancers progressed, and one child died.

  • McMaster University links to alternative medicine - There are no endorsements here. Search the file for "shark".

  • Unconventional Therapies - Shark Cartilage / Cartilate / Cartilade / Benefin / AE-941 / Neovastat - February 2000 - British Columbia Cancer Agency reports states, "Shark cartilage proved worthless in the first careful scientific study for such products last year [involving shark cartilage treatment for cancer."

  • Can shark cartilage save the life of Tyrell Dueck? Part of a grab bag of therapy youngster is receiving at Mexican clinic; conventional medicine skeptical but not entirely dismissive of effort. After you read this, just click on our direct link to the tragic story of another Canadian child who was robbed of his life by cancer quacksters, religious zealots, and health professionals who supported the family's fundamentalist beliefs in things like shark cartilage.

  • Alternative Medicine -- The Risks of Untested and Unregulated Remedies - Marcia Angell and Jerome P. Kassirer editorial in NEJM Sept. 1998 It is time for the scientific community to stop giving alternative medicine a free ride. There cannot be two kinds of medicine -- conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work.

  • Cancer Information and Support International - This Canadian based web site is perhaps the single worst example I could find for misinformation on shark cartilage in one place. In fact, their entire site should easily win the Canadian version of the Ig-Nobel prize for medicine. Never before in one place has so much been gathered by any Canadian quack. Plus, get this, they don't even identify themselves.
    If you want to see who owns their site just click here:

  • Freedom of choice in cancer treatment - 1999 conference This session was designed to address the issue of freedom of choice in health care and the challenges that such freedom raises in government regulation. Presenters were also asked to propose "solutions that balance respect for individual choice and the need for public safety."
  • Comprehensive Cancer Care: 1998 Conference on Integrating Complementary & Alternative Therapies Dr. Charles Simone is the director of the Simone Protective Cancer Center. He is known because of his Cuban studies that were featured on the 1993 TV show 60 Minutes. He tries to explain what happened after the FDA gave him permission to do trials. He said that he couldn't "control the patients".

  • Dr. Charles Simone explains it all - from the Ralph Moss cancer site: Testimony and biographical sketch before Government Reform and Oversight Committee

  • Ralph Moss, PhD. - king of the cancer quacks offers his wisdom for $275 U.S. plus Fedex shipping
  • Sharks take a bite out of cancer - 1991
  • Whole Life Expo - Toronto 1997 - a boost for Hulda Clark and other cancer quacks

Shark Cartilage - Commercial sites

Canada

  • Aeterna Laboratories - a publicly traded Biopharmaceutical medical research company in Quebec goes ahead with controversial shark cartilage projects despite negative studies in the U.S. Aeterna's web site also includes cosmetic and nutritional lines. A spokesperson for the company said that they had not yet looked into the decision by the FDA to finally rein in Lane Laboratories, the company that has done the most to market shark cartilage as a cancer treatment.

  • Alta-Natural Herbs - This publicly traded company makes outrageous health claims for their shark cartilage: "Scientific research has now demonstrated that cartilage, particularly shark cartilage, is producing dramatic results in treatment of most degenerative and life threatening diseases, including cancer. Cartilage has been proven to be safe and effective in the treatment of osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, eczema, colitis, enteris, poison ivy/oak, acne, varicose ulcers, pruritisani, fistulas hemorrhoids, wound healing, pruebius ulcers, cold sores, shingles, lupus and cancer." (Alta-Herbal also markets Cartilago for pets, bee pollen, chitosan, chromium picolinate, and a host of other items.)

  • Aqua Blue - Chilliwack, B.C."Does It Treat Cancer? No claims can be made for any substance without full clinical trials, however certain well publicized tests have led people to conclude that Shark Cartilage does indeed shrink some cancerous tumors, tumors that had been unresponsive to standard therapies."

  • Bell Distributors Bell's web site is always in my face with hate mail, but I can take it. Their products are at major drug chains and in convenience stores all over Canada and the U.S.

  • Shark cartilage dog biscuits for pets Deep Sea Harvesters Inc. is a Canadian owned and operated company. We use shark cartilage from sharks harvested only in North American waters, thereby keeping jobs in the North American fishing industry.

  • Here is their link to their pet testimonials - I wonder what a dog really thinks when he is told he is eating a "DOG FISH". Woooooffffff.

U.S.

  • Lane Laboratories - even after recent FDA actions against them, their web site refuses to bend.

  • Shark Cartilage Information Network - TheHealingNetwork.com This is the place with the largest amount of misinformation in one place coupled with the longest disclaimer I have ever seen.

  • HealthSpotlight markets BeneFin after FDA ruling - There is not a single medical claim on this site, but there are references to hospital studies.

  • Real Life shark cartilage and cancer information - this is a must stop to see how the misinformation campaign operates. Right from the start, they hook you in: "Welcome to REAL LIFE's Shark Cartilage Information Exchange, the first and longest running Shark Cartilage Information Page. Since first publishing this site in October of 1995, we have helped tens of thousands of people suffering with many chronic and life-threatening disorders such as cancer, osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, and others to obtain information on the potential benefits of Shark Cartilage."


Shark Cartilage - Government

Canada

U.S.

  • Lane Labs down, but not out The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking a permanent injunction against Lane Labs-USA, Inc., of Allendale, New Jersey, and its president, Andrew J. Lane, for continuing to market three unapproved drugs despite receiving warnings from the agency for over a year. But the company claims that the products are being marketed as dietary supplements, not as drugs. BeneFin is currently being studied as a potential cancer therapy under an Investigational New Drug application before the FDA, but "it may not be promoted and marketed until its safety and effectiveness are demonstrated".

  • FDA decision against Benefin - Andrew Lane's shark cartilage empire - Dec. 10, 1999 The Food and Drug Administration today stepped up its efforts to protect the public against unproven claims for unapproved drugs by seeking a permanent injunction against the marketing of three unapproved drug products being illegally promoted as treatments for cancer and other diseases by a New Jersey corporation and its top officer. The products, called BeneFin, SkinAnswer and MGN-3, are promoted and sold by Lane Labs-USA, Inc., in Allendale. In addition to Lane Labs-USA, Inc., the complaint names as defendant its President, Andrew J. Lane.

  • FTC rules against NUTRIVIDA - 1998 - IT IS ORDERED that respondents, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, or other device, in connection with the manufacturing, labeling, advertising, promotion, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of Nutrivida's Cartilet shark cartilage capsules or any other product in or affecting commerce, shall not make any representation, in any manner, expressly or by implication, that such product:
    1. Is effective in the symptomatic relief, treatment, or cure of cancer; or
    2. Is effective in the symptomatic relief or treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, diabetes, fibroids, bursitis, circulatory problems, or cysts, unless, at the time the representation is made, respondents possess and rely upon competent and reliable scientific evidence that substantiates the representation.
  • FTC rules against Body Systems Technology IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, or other device, in connection with the manufacturing, labeling, advertising, promotion, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of Body System Technology, Inc.'s una de gato capsules, una de gato liquid, or any other product or program in or affecting commerce, shall not make any representation, in any manner, expressly or by implication, that such product or program:
    1. Is or is likely to be an effective treatment of cancer;
    2. Is or is likely to be an effective treatment of HIV and AIDS; or
    3. Is or is likely to be an effective treatment of arthritis,
    unless, at the time the representation is made, respondents possess and rely upon competent and reliable scientific evidence that substantiates the representation.

Science or Science Fiction:
Arthritis treatment

Important Shark conservation links?

Some of these sites should contain important information on sharks and shark cartilage. Some report on the huge increase of shark harvesting to supply the world with shark cartilage. It's amazing how the non-governmental agencies seem to have it, while government agencies just come up blank.
  • SHARK CARTILAGE DEMAND SAID DECIMATING WILDLIFE According to a report from Costa Rica, the demand for shark cartilage, the dubious cancer remedy promoted on CBS's 60 Minutes in 1993, has increased production more than 7-fold. The report points out that both the chief of oncology at Costa Rica's National Children's Hospital and a spokesperson for the National Cancer Institute consider shark cartilage for cancer a farce.
  • Oceans and Fisheries Canada Search for Shark Cartilage - The Canadian government site contains no links about shark cartilage, or shark fishing on their site. In fact, there is no search engine, except in their library. It's really embarrasing that the government of Canada allows shark cartilage "drug" trials and yet has no information about sharks. They have a link to the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, but nothing about the slaughter of sharks.

  • National Film Board - Sharks Video 1997 - With a booming trade in shark cartilage the world's shark population is being slaughtered at an unprecedented rate. Underwater photographer Tim Calver was drawn to biologist and leading shark researcher Dr. Sam Gruber's world-famous research lab in the Bahamas, where he is now a free-diving expert, a specialist in capturing and freeing sharks for study - and a passionate defender of these misunderstood animals.

  • Oceans Canada - only one mention of shark oil on their search engine.

  • The Truth About The Shark Cartilage Scam - Nautilus Productions If you use shark cartilage or shark liver oil, you are wasting your money and contributing to the wholesale slaughter of helpless animals. More than 20 species of large shark are at this very moment under savage, brutal attack worldwide by the only predator in the seas that can threaten these unique, beautiful animals -- humans.

  • Stephen Barrett's QuackWatch latest revelations on Shark CartilageBeneFin is being studied as a potential cancer therapy under an Investigational New Drug application reviewed by the FDA. As such, it can be distributed for use in clinical trials. Like the other two products, however, it may not be promoted and marketed until its safety and effectiveness are demonstrated and the FDA reviews and approves the sponsor's marketing application.

    The government's action seeks to stop the three products from being distributed unless they are either approved for marketing by FDA or are distributed pursuant to an Investigational New Drug application solely for purposes of conducting a clinical trial. The suit against Lane Labs-USA does not affect brands of shark cartilage marketed as "dietary supplements" with no claims that they are intended for preventing or treating disease.

  • United Nations FAO Food and Agriculture Organization - Fisheries meeting on sharks in 1998 raises issue of shark cartilage only once, while Hong Kong imports thousands of tons of shark fins for their soup.
  • The International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks - This document makes absolutely no mention of the growing use of shark cartilage.
  • Search for "sharks"

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