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Galapagos giant tortoises kill damaged cells to resist cancer and ageing


Key points from article :

We would expect large animals to be more susceptible to cancer because they have a greater number of cells.

Recent studies have shown how big, long-lived animals experience paradoxically low cancer rates.

Galapagos giant tortoises can live for more than 150 years.

Their genomes contain extra copies of genes involved in responding to cellular stress caused by damaged/misshaped proteins.

Accumulation of such proteins has been associated with ageing and cancer.

When applied a drug that triggers stress to giant tortoise cells in a lab dish, the cells immediately self-destructed.

"Killing damaged cells before they turn cancerous...likely to be just one of many ways to reduce their cancer risk," - Vincent Lynch, corresponding author.

“The more species we learn tricks from, the greater our understanding will be of natural mechanisms that confer resistance to ageing and cancer,” - João Pedro de Magalhães, Microbiologist.

Study by George Mason University & University at Buffalo published in bioRxiv.

Large, long living animals offer insights on natural ways of cancer resistance

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The preprint server for biology.


Public Research university.


Professor of Molecular Biogerontology at University of Birmingham Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, consultant, futurist, speaker


Largest public university in the State University of New York system


Assistant professor of biological sciences at University of Buffalo