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Is the Cure for Cancer Hiding In This Tiny Animal?

Cancer existed throughout human existence, with the earliest record dating back to 1600 B.C.E. - A case of breast cancer, described by an Egyptian healer. Since those times, it has become an epidemic in most countries in the world, with millions of people suffering and dying from it worldwide. "Cancer" is malignant tumor - an abnormal state of cell growth with a potential to spread to the rest of the host’s body. While not all growths are malignant, even benign tumors are often unsightly and can become malignant in later stages. Currently, there are over 100 known types of cancer that humans can contract.

Since those times, doctors and scientist have been devising new methods to combat and prevent cancer: developing vaccines for viruses that can cause cancer (like HPV), developing treatments to combat cancerous cells (chemotherapy and radiation) as well as running campaigns to stop the use of carcinogenic materials. (Like Asbestos or Tobacco)

In recent years, scientists have discovered that a species of moles called the “Blind Mole Rat” is highly resistant to both natural and chemically-induced cancer. 
The Mole Rat weighs 100–200 grams (3.5–7.1 oz), with fur that is light gray and has four sharp teeth (two in the upper jaw and two smaller ones in the lower). They have evolved to easily handle a severe lack of oxygen. Their life span is about 20 years and during that time, they hardly show any signs of aging and never seem to develop cancerous tumors.

In adaptation to their natural environment, blind mole rats evolved a mutation to prevent cells from undergoing accelerated death and regrowth. When exposed to carcinogenic materials, the cells in blind mole rats release interferon-beta (normally uses to fight viruses). The interferon-beta forces these cells to undergo necrosis (this mechanism also kills cancer cells). Because of tumor suppression mechanisms such as this, blind mole rats are resistant to cancer.

A discovery by a specialist from Israel is hailed as “radical and potentially life-changing”. Professor Aaron Avivi and his team from the University of Haifa found that cells from the blind mole rat (and its cousin the naked mole rat) secrete a substance that destroys cancer cells in all mammals – including humans. Experts think that adapting this substance for human use could cure a disease that kills eight million people each year. 
The research concludes by saying that: “Blind mole rats are resistant to spontaneous cancer but also to experimentally induced cancer. “It shows the unique ability of the blind mole rat to inhibit growth and kill cancer cells, but not normal cells. It has evolved efficient anti-cancer mechanisms. “Exploring the molecular mechanisms may hold the key for understanding the nature of resistance to cancer and identify new strategies for treating humans.”
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Related Topics: Health, Medical, Cancer, Cure, Mole Rat
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