The University of Aberdeen in Scotland has received a $320,000 grant from the Association for International Cancer Research to study shark antibodies over three years. The focus will be to see whether the compounds in sharks' blood will prevent cancer cells from growing. These specific antibodies, called IgNAR, bind to targets like viruses and parasites, according to Dr. Helen Dooley who works for the university's school of biological sciences.
The study will use IgNAR antibodies to target cancers that produce excess HER2 and HER3 proteins. FOX reports that these molecules are found on the surface of cancer cells and are responsible for signalling those cells to multiply when they meet up.
This type of treatment could be especially beneficial to patients who have developed a resistance to other kinds of treatments. The antibody doesn't seem to be cancer-specific so it may be that if this three-year study successfully proves that IgNAR antibodies are a treatment for breast cancer, the study may be widened for other forms of cancer.