Skip to comments.Blind mole rats may hold key to cancer
Posted on 11/06/2012 12:33:31 AM PST by neverdem
Rodents' cells commit mass suicide when overcrowded, preventing uncontrollable proliferation.
There's more than one way for long-lived subterranean rodents to avoid cancer, and they might hold cellular clues to effective treatments in humans.
Cell cultures from two species of blind mole rat, Spalax judaei and Spalax golani, behave in ways that render them impervious to the growth of tumours, according to work by Vera Gorbunova at the University of Rochester in New York and her colleagues1. And the creatures seem to have evolved a different way of doing this from that observed in their better known and similarly cancer-resistant cousin, the naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber).
Some 23% of humans die of cancer, but blind mole rats which can live for 21 years, an impressive age among rodents seem to be immune to the disease.
These animals are subject to terrific stresses underground: darkness, scarcity of food, immense numbers of pathogens and low oxygen levels. So they have evolved a range of mechanisms to cope with these difficulties, explains co-author Eviatar Nevo at the University of Haifa in Israel, who has published papers on the creatures since 1961. I truly believe work with these animals will bring a dramatic revolution in medicine.
Three years ago, Gorbunova was involved in another study that described the unusual way in which the cells of the naked mole rat behave in the lab2. The authors say that this hints at how the rats resist cancer. When cells from most animals are grown in a culture dish, they divide until they form a single layer of cells covering the base of the dish. At this point, healthy cells stop dividing, whereas cancerous ones continue. But the cells of naked mole rats behave as if they are 'claustrophobic', ceasing to divide much...
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
There are none so blind as those who hold the key to cancer.
Unexpected maybe holds blank keys.
Blind mole rats? Somehow I just knew they’d come in handy some day.
They’re Blind Mole Rats.
They may hold the key but, what if I turn them around, in an open field, really fast and slap the key out of their tiny little grubby blind mice hands... Do yuh think they’ll be able to find em again?
“Blind mole rats?”
heh. I thought it said “Blind poll rats”. Fricken’ election!
Interesting that an animal that lives in the most claustrophobic conditions imaginable has cells that are claustrophobic!