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November 1, 2013 4:02 pm

Israeli Researchers May Have Found the Future of Cancer Research

avatar by Zach Pontz

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The Israeli blind mole rat. Photo: Wikipedia.

Israeli researchers believe they have found the cancer research specimen of the future—the Israeli blind mole rat, reports ISRAEL21c.

These wild rodents, no friend to farmers, are extremely resistant to cancer and live 10 times as long as mice, Prof. Aaron Avivi at Haifa University said.

“We claim that defense mechanisms developed along tens of millions of  years of evolution must necessarily be a better key to solving cancer — and not the cancer-prone, short-lived inbred rat and mouse that are already laboratory products,” Avivi told ISRAEL21c.

“We truly believe that we have found the potential ‘missing good organism’ that the community of cancer researchers is seeking to progress in our effort to solve cancer in humans.”

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ISRAEL21c writes: “Avivi and his colleagues suspect the creatures’ cancer resistance is tied to their ability to survive abrupt and sharp changes in oxygen supply. Hypoxia, a condition caused by a lack of oxygen, leads to human heart and lung diseases, brain strokes and cancer.”

Says Avivi, “The fact that it is tolerant to hypoxia is related to the fact that it is free of ailments as it ages, and we deduce that this is the reason why it survives over 20 years, while rats of the same size and weight survive only four years.”

An article in BMC Biology written by Avivi and his colleagues proved for the first time that it is nearly impossible to induce cancer in the blind mole rat through treatment with carcinogens that cause tumors in mice and rats.

But the coup is that normal cells propagated from the blind mole rat “fight off cancer cells from different tissues and different species, including human. The same cells from control groups of lab mice, rats and wild spiny mice lack this remarkable ability.”

“Our effort now is to try and identify, isolate and purify the substance/s that only the blind mole-rat secretes, and to discover with what component/s it interacts that is active only on cancer cells,” Avivi told ISRAEL21c. “This might lead to a medicine for humans suffering from cancer.”


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  • Anna

    Similar research was published previously and the substance was already found: Tian et al., Nature. 2013 Jul 18;499(7458):346-9.

  • judorebbe

    If you need a rat with a long life span, just use Jimmy Carter.

  • Charles Polák

    High-molecular-weight hyaluronan is what mole rats’ skins secrete – in larger quantities, and higher molecular weights, than any other mammal’s. We need to get this stuff (or its equivalent) to all the relevant tissues of our bodies!

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