Mini-antibodies discovered in sharks and camels could lead to drugs for cancer and other diseases

  • Helen Dooley admits that she often gets puzzled responses when she describes her work. "People say, ‘You bleed sharks for a living?’"
  • That's an overstatement, but every couple of weeks she and a helper drop by several large fiberglass tanks at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology on the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland. They net a cat shark or nurse shark and wrestle it into a small cc_DSC2570%20copy_1280x720.jpg?itok=kcyio0iEpool of water that contains a mild sedative. The drug calms the shark so they can lift it from the water and puncture a vein in its tail. Drawing a few milliliters of blood "doesn't take more than a few seconds," Dooley says, after which they return the animal to its aquarium to recover. "They're usually swimming about perfectly normally, and looking for food, after only a minute or so."

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