Shark Antibodies May Cure Breast Cancer and Aid Survival of the Fittest


Studies have suggested that shark antibodies may help cure breast cancer, and in effect aid Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest within humanity, like they do in oceanic ecosystems.

Sharks are extremely crucial oceanic fish. They are characterized by their cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the side of their heads, and pectoral fins. They regulate the balance of oceanic ecosystems, because they commonly hunt old, weak or sick prey. This means that the prey population remain in proportion, and also in a good condition, which enables the stronger animals to reproduce and pass on superior genes. As a result, sharks become a crucial element within the ocean for the concept of survival of the fittest.

As shark antibodies may help to cure breast cancer, it is possible that they will transfer their influence within the ocean into humanity, by bringing breast cancer victims back to health and enabling their survival. Cancer research’s statistics showed that in 201o, 49,564 women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 11,556 died. It is the one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers, with women being at a far greater threat.

With new information on shark antibodies, scientists from the University of Aberdeen, have been assigned over £200,000 to help them investigate. The grant has been given by the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR). It will be a three-year study, which will research into whether shark IgNAR antibodies can hinder certain molecules from aiding cancerous cells to expand. Reports have stated that this investigation is extremely important, and could be a major development in treating breast cancer.Dr Helen Dooley, head of the investigation, states that the study will focus on a particular type of antibody (IgNAR), which is unique to the blood of a shark, and these antibodies are fascinating because they attach themselves to targets, such as viruses and parasites, in a distinctive way that differs to those found in humans.This is believed to be caused by their attachment region being much smaller. Therefore, they have the ability to fit into spaces which human antibodies can not fit.

Dooley went on to explain that her team “believe we can exploit the novel binding of IgNAR, and use it to stop HER2 and HER3 molecules from working, and prompting cancer cells to grow and divide.” To do this, they will use the funding from the Association for International Cancer Research, in order to see whether shark antibodies may actually provide a cure to treat breast cancer and aid survival of the fittest within humans.


Of course this will only be the first step in a very long process. However, if the hypothesis holds true, the team hope to develop new anti-cancer drugs, based entirely upon these rare IgNAR antibodies.There is much hope that the research will enable future progression of effective treatment, in order to help patients who become resistant to other drugs used to prevent breast cancer.

As Shark antibodies go under the microscope, in the belief that they have the potential to help cure breast cancer, and as a result influence survival of the fittest not only within the marine ecosystem, only time will reveal the results.


By Melissa McDonald