July 28, 2017

Applying Shark Science to Human Health

Viewers of the Discovery Channel’s highly anticipated Shark Week may not know about the different role sharks play aside from teeth-thrashing and jaw-clamping they see on television.
By Jennifer Barrett

2.  Cancer 
Researchers believe there are cancer-related immunity genes found in sharks that could bring us closer to finding new ways to combat cancer in humans. In one study, researchers found evidence that some shark immunity genes have undergone evolutionary changes that may be tied to these cancer-resistant abilities.2 Most notably, these genes also have counterparts in humans, where their overexpression is known to be associated with cancer.

The findings suggest that the proteins produced by these cancer-related genes have modified functions in sharks, such as the potential to protect them from cancer. However, research is continuing.  



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