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Naked mole-rat's immune system is resistant to cancer


Key points from article :

Naked mole-rat has special immune system that can fight cancer, new study says.

Suggests genes known to cause cancer in other rodents can turn mole-rat cells cancerous.

Analysed 79 different cell lines grown from intestine, kidney, pancreas, lung and skin tissue.

Taken from 11 individual mole-rats; with which they induced cancer.

Surprisingly, infected cells began to multiply and rapidly form colonies in the lab.

The team then injected these cells into mice, which within weeks formed tumours.

Indicating it is the environment of mole-rat’s body that prevents cancer development.

This finding contradicts a 2013 study on mole-rats inherent cells.

Some researchers argued the results were due to “artificially high” levels of cancer-causing genes.

And that it overrides the animal’s natural resistance mechanisms.

Research on mole-rats will continue to help reveal anti-cancer ways in humans.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, published in Nature.

Their extreme biology could be key to preventing cancer in humans

Mentioned in this article:


Pharmacologist, University of Cambridge


Postdoctoral Research Associate, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute


Cambridge pharmacologist