Naked Mole Rats Never Get Cancer

Scientists have been investigating cancer resistance in naked mole rats for years, and multiple theories have emerged. One is that the mole rats produce a comparatively high amount of high-molecular-mass hyaluronan, a polysaccharide that may prevent tumors, and that also gives them their signature loose, wrinkly skin. Another team has found that a gene in naked mole rats codes for four tumor-suppressing proteins-one more than the three coded for in humans.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Naked mole rats can live for up to 30 years, which is extraordinary for a creature of their size. 00:31

  2. Naked mole rats resist traditional signs of aging, such as bone wasting and inelastic blood vessels. 01:16

  3. High-molecular-mass hyaluronan gives naked mole rats their stretchy skin, and may also contribute to their cancer resistance. 02:14

Written by Curiosity Staff December 15, 2015

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