Cancer Proof Naked Mole Rats

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With its wrinkled skin and bucked teeth, the naked mole rat isn’t the prettiest of animals. But the burrowing, desert rodent is exceptional in another way: It doesn’t get cancer.  Recent studies show that the mole rat’s cells have a gene called p16 that makes the cells “claustrophobic,” stopping the cells’ proliferation when too many of them crowd together, cutting off runaway growth before it can start. The effect of p16 is so pronounced that when researchers mutated the cells to induce a tumor, the cells’ growth barely changed, whereas regular mouse cells became fully cancerous. The details could someday lead to a new strategy for treating cancer in people.  A naked mole rat is small but can live more than 28 years – seven times as long as a regular mouse. Resistance to cancer could be a major factor in the animal’s longevity.  Read more…

Sources: Science DailyScience Mag