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D. Data Gaps and Future Research Recommended

Although the available evidence does not indicate sufficient evidence for concern about shark cartilage as a dietary supplement ingredient, there has not been a systematic and scientific safety evaluation of it.

Clinical trials are under way with various preparations of shark cartilage, including clinical trials supported by the National Cancer Institute. These will provide data relevant to safety, and may provide insight into potential serious adverse effects. It is expected that more data will be generated within the next few years as the studies in progress unfold.

Other research needed:

  • Characterization of shark cartilage products, including the identification and characterization of bioactive components.

  • Analytical methods (chemical or bioactive assays) for standardization of products.

  • Demonstration and quantification of bioavailability.

  • Acute and chronic animal toxicological data that use currently accepted standards.

  • Ongoing clinical trials that monitor side effects, evaluate safety concerns, and are designed to identify antiangiogenic activity associated with shark cartilage preparations.

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