Sharks and Baiting Out Cancer

February 1, 2017
Sharks and Baiting Out Cancer

Animals and humans have long lived together ubiquitously. We share an ecosystem, and living purposes such as survival and mating. The Scientific Revolution marks the beginning of human study of animals and categorizing them from what location they are found in, to how they look, and how they behave. Scientists have used animals to their advantage while conducting medical research. Leeches have been used in sucking out blood, and help to keep it flowing.  Insulin for diabetics was first conceived from pigs. Studies for drug trials are usually tested on lab rats. Scientists study animals and their DNA as possible sources of insight for medicinal theories to soon be practiced on humans if the study is effective.

Sharks have thought to be amazing creatures; by their mass, predatory status and majestic nature. Scientists have become puzzled that their bodily structure allows them to be resistant to forms of cancer. Dana Dovey of Medical Daily writes “Cancer Cure To Incurable Lung Disease Treatment; What Shark Immune System Is Teaching Us About Human Disease,” that this article comes from the paper by researchers at Cornell University.  These researchers claim that, “some shark and ray immunity genes have undergone evolutionary adaption,” and that, “these specific shark immunity genes also have counterparts in humans and their overexpression is associated with a number of cancers.” Scientists are hoping that through understanding how sharks deal with genetic flaws, humans may soon be able to approach cancer the same way.

Researchers in Australia are using, “the sea predator’s super immune system as a model to develop a drug to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis,”
that was, “developed based on a blood sample for a Wobbegong shark at Melbourne Aquarium.” Another research team is looking into how sharks can regrow their teeth, and why humans cannot. The dental findings are yet to be discovered. Sharks are providing a large amount of research contrasting the functions of the human body. If these are the medical benefits to only studying one type of specie, imagine what other information lays among the rest of the world’s millions of animals.


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