matt (hbergeronx) wrote,

Do bison get cancer?

Yes. Bison do get cancer.

This is a myth, one would assume, that exists because bison do not age to the point where they would more commonly experience cancer, and that it would be too expensive to maintain adult bison under laboratory controlled conditions to investigate whether or not the assertions are valid.

There are also multiple instances of bison having either carcinoma or papilloma at branding sites and the fact that buffalo may be susceptible to cancer causing viral agents as suggested in this reference tells me that there is nothing special or protective wrt cancer about bison relative to other bovines.

It is likely that the urban legend of both bovine and shark cartilage curing/preventing cancer has a common origin in the research of a single person: Dr. John F Prudden. His work on bovine cartilage and his struggles with conducting controlled trials to demonstrate effectiveness of a "cure" mirrors greatly the current struggle of Stanislaw Burzynski to demonstrate the efficacy of neoplastons.

Prudden first started with bovine cartilage, which probably led to grapevine stories about both the cartilage and underlying animals, including cattle (bos) and bison, and later moved on to shark cartilage, which was demonstrated in vitro to have greater anti-angiogenic activity as well as having a greater percentage of mass as cartilage, likewise creating grapevine stories about the incidence and protective effect on sharks. See: Why are sharks impervious to cancer? The coincidence of the stories centering around this single, notable figure and the timeframe for these myths makes it reasonable that all of these are somehow related. 

It is informative that the company founded to commercialize Prudden's work has withered to a small cosmetic nutraceutical firm, Lescarden, with <$0.5m in revenuehttp://www.pharmaceutical-busine... and provides some skepticism whether a corporation can continue to prosper without the driving resource of the founder.

Likewise, Aeterna Zentaris (AeZ) attempted clinical trials of shark cartilage, with no apparent benefit to tumor reduction and no full published results of the trial. In 2005/2006, AeZ appears to have spun off its interest in biopharmaceuticals to Atrium; see financial reports for AeZ and Atrium Atrium renamed itself in 2007 and divested the specialty chemicals and active ingredients business to an unnamed third party in 2008, which on page 11 shows a writedown on "Les Biotechnologies Océanova Inc." which is likely to follow the fate of the shark cartilage endeavor. The remaining company, Atrium Innovations, seems to be in a similar operating space as Lescarden.

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded