IMMUNITY IN THE CELL COMMUNITY
In 2004 it was reported that Orectolobus maculatus, a type of shark found in shallow waters of Australian territories and the China Sea, and better known as, Spotted Wobbegong Shark, was found to have a highly evolved immune system. The structure of the molecules which are found in the protein within the cells surface can actually be copied by scientists and introduced to the human system.
If the saying, that we are what we eat, is true, then it is also worth noting that the Spotted Wobbegong eats octopus, crabs, lobster, sea bass and luderick. (Luderick is a silver colored fish, which people can eat also.) And luderick feed mainly off algae.
All sharks, we now know are interestingly resistant to cancer.
At Free Patents Online, you can actually read the application abstract for Shark Liver Extract. It is defined as being a "stimulant of the immune system".
Free Patents Online also contains an application for a patent for a drug derived from sharks which are mixed with an antibody that will bind to tumor cell population.
Doctor Carl Luer is a researcher within the field called Elasmobranch and he's responsible for many fascinating discoveries concerning the immune system of the shark. He's been studying sharks for decades and in 1991, according to isurus.mote.org, an immunologist, Doctor Cathy Walsh joined his research.
What the researchers have found is that of course, sharks don't have bone marrow or lymph nodes to produce cells for immunity, like mammals. Apparently, sharks have special "tissue sights" that regulate the release of, as well as production of immunity cells within their esophagus, spleen and reproductive organs. Sharks also have a thymus like humans that produces T cells.
But the question still remains, WHY do sharks rarely, if ever contract cancer? Interestingly, their antibodies (immunity cells) can withstand heat, acidic and alkaline conditions, due to exceptional molecular structures which seem to operate at maximum performance.
As of 2006 the Wobbegong Shark was reported to have been the original source of antibodies produced. These antibodies are not only very important in terms of human health but also in the detection of biowarfare and rapid monitoring of pollution.
More than likely, what spawned the evolution of the shark's magnificent immune system was the fact that its main interaction in its environment is with an open mouth. While sharks have certain foods they prefer, they will eat humans, dogs, cows or whatever floats into their territory. It is also possible that cells fare better at a lower altitude? It's just my guess.
Expect more and more information on this subject as times goes on, because the scientific community is fascinated.