John Prudden, MD and Bovine Tracheal Cartilage

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John Prudden, MD began research into Bovine Tracheal Cartilage (BTC) in the 1950s. He found that BTC can have a powerful effect on diseases as deadly as glioblastoma, pancreatic cancer and metastatic lung cancer, and as intractable as scleroderma, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. It often reversed psoriasis, cancer and other diseases not appearing to be cartilage related. Broth made from bones, cartilage and collagen-rich tissues has a long history of safe and effective usage. BTC concentrates the critical nutrients found in broth.

Dr. Prudden also found that adults could rebuild cartilage, and he published in major medical journals. Joint problems are not inevitable and the body can regenerate young healthy cartilage. The nutrients to accomplish this are provided in cartilage – glycine, proline, glutamine, proteoglycans and other nutrients. The larger cartilage molecules may not be absorbed intact, but the components certainly are.

Dr. Prudden published a major article on BTC and osteoarthritis in the summer 1974 issue of Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism. Many people desperate over their pain and disability received significant help. In a subsequent trial with over 700 people, 85 percent reported excellent or good results. Other researchers have confirmed his findings in subsequent long-term studies.

Bovine Tracheal Cartilage for Wound Healing and for Infectious Diseases

In the early 1950s, Dr. Prudden investigated the wound healing effects of BTC. All told, he published nineteen studies in major medical journals, proving cartilage sped wound healing. Cartilage-treated wounds looked better cosmetically – smoother, flatter, more natural – than wounds treated without it. At the same time, cartilage-treated wounds were stronger, more flexible and less likely to rupture. Dr. Prudden’s work was lauded in Sabiston’s Textbook of Surgery, where the author wrote, “After decades of experimentation, only one substance [BTC] has been shown to affect healing unequivocally.” In 1965, an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association recognized Dr. Prudden’s work, concluding, “The value of these observations is appreciated if we remember that most of the correctable morbidity and mortality of surgery is due to failures of wound healing.” In subsequent years, BTC has been largely ignored as highly profitable and largely ineffective pharmaceutical solutions for wound healing have been pushed to the forefront.

Dr. Prudden called BTC a “potent normalizer,” meaning that it responds to any aberrancy from normal, “because cartilage comes from the fetal mesenchyme.” This enables BTC to direct the development of various types of tissue in the human body. As a “true biological response modifier,” BTC increases the ability of white blood cells to destroy bacteria and viruses. Thus its potency in treating infectious diseases, via activation of white blood cells known as macrophages, as well as nearly every type of white blood cell needed to mount a strong defense against microbial diseases, including ear infections, urinary tract infections, bronchitis and other infectious diseases. Patients with shingles or mononucleosis often made rapid improvements when ingesting BTC.

How Bovine Tracheal Cartilage Works

Dr. Prudden became known as “the father of cartilage therapy.” He successfully treated severe cases of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease with BTC. These are autoimmune disorders, as are arthritis and psoriasis. He worked primarily with people with severe, supposedly incurable cases, making his results all the more remarkable.


Dr. Prudden supervised the investment of over $10 million in research on BTC, showing it to be effective in a wide range of conditions, using an optimal dosage of twelve 750 mg capsules daily. This is also the optimal dosage following wounds or injuries. To best facilitate healing after surgery, begin taking BTC one month prior, and continue for two to three months after. While cartilage is a component of broth cooked from bones, cartilage and skin, even the most avid broth drinker is unlikely to consume this amount.

Bovine Tracheal Cartilage and Cancer

In 1985, Dr. Prudden published “The Treatment of Human Cancer with Agents Prepared from Bovine Cartilage” in the December issue of the Journal of Biological Response Modifiers. The article documents an eleven-year study begun in 1972 and tracks the progress of 31 morbidly ill, “beyond hope” patients for whom standard therapy had failed.

Prudden found that BTC was completely safe, with no significant side effects. He emphasized that cartilage is not an instant miracle cure; a clear response might not be observed for four months, and some cancers, particularly those of the blood such as leukemia, did not respond. Cancer might worsen for a time before the action of the cartilage kicks in. But once remission is achieved, he said, patients should continue a maintenance dose for life. Think of this therapy not as a cure but rather as a control.

In his summary, Prudden wrote that BTC had a “major inhibitory effect upon a wide spectrum of cancers.” Eleven of the thirty-one patients had a “complete response” with probable cure. Most of the rest improved, with partial responses. Only two failed to respond at all. All had been evaluated as “hopeless” by doctors other than Prudden prior to the treatment with BTC. Many had failed to take maintenance doses after initial success, and subsequently relapsed.

These results and more are described in Dr. Prudden’s 1993 article, Summary of Bovine Tracheal Cartilage Research Program. Here are some of the most impressive individual results Prudden wrote about:

  • The disappearance of a large rectal carcinoma in a 54-year-old man, with demonstrated progressive normalization in the microscopic appearance of the cancer cells in sequential biopsies obtained during treatment.
  • Remission of a prostatic cancer, metastatic to bones, with complete normalization of all blood values. At the time Prudden published, the man was well 19 years after beginning therapy with BTC and was 91 years old.
  • An 18-year remission of a carcinoma of the pancreas with nodal involvement in a 69-year-old woman.

Dr. Prudden’s subsequent studies included long-term follow up on all of the 31 pilot cases and data on 140 other cases, including a number of cancers of the brain, lung, pharynx, and ovary – cases that are generally considered incurable. He reported in 1997 that the patients were “doing considerably better than anyone else would have anticipated and the results are even more impressive than the original thirty-one.”

Bovine Tracheal Cartilage for Healthy People

One might reasonably assume that BTC is a wonderful supplement for everyone to take. Unless one is making cartilage-rich broth on a daily basis, it’s impossible to get significant amounts of the nutrients BTC provides in the diet. BTC is a marvelous food that may indeed be a key to preventing cancer and other chronic diseases. A relationship to strong, healthy joints into old age seems obvious. 

The source of the BTC Dr. Prudden used was freeze-dried tissue from grass-fed New Zealand cattle. This is exactly the same source and process we use in producing Dr. Ron's Ultra-Pure Bovine Tracheal Cartilage. In fact, the same company that produced BTC for Dr. Prudden now produces our product. Freeze-drying freshly harvested cartilage preserves the unaltered proteins, enzymes and fat-soluble activators present. The tissues we use are taken only from grass-fed, inspected animals, raised without the use of pesticides, hormones or antibiotics, in New Zealand.

The source of much of the information in this article is Nourishing Broth, by Sally Fallon-Morell and Kaayla Daniel, PhD

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