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Secrets of a cancer-free rodent

Researchers have shed light on an unusual resistance to cancer displayed by the naked mole rat, a burrowing, long-lived desert-dwelling rodent. In these animals, a cell growth switch absent in more cancer-prone organisms turns off cell division before cells get too dense, as they would in a tumor, according to a study published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Image: Chris Hine,Vera Gorbunova"This is a really great discovery," said protein biochemist

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Researchers have shed light on an unusual resistance to cancer displayed by the naked mole rat, a burrowing, long-lived desert-dwelling rodent. In these animals, a cell growth switch absent in more cancer-prone organisms turns off cell division before cells get too dense, as they would in a tumor, according to a study published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Image: Chris Hine,
Vera Gorbunova
"This is a really great discovery," said protein biochemist and aging researcher linkurl:Asish Chaudhuri;http://www.barshop.uthscsa.edu/main/facultystaff/barshopfaculty/u29 at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, who was not involved in the research. If researchers can identify the same pathway in humans, "then we [may be able to] slow down the aging process [and] prevent the cancer before it starts." Naked mole rats have uncommonly long life spans of more than 28 years -- longer than any other rodent...
PNASThe Scientist



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