Naked Mole Rats Never Get Cancer

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.

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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. (0:31)

  • 2

    Naked mole rats resist traditional signs of aging, such as bone wasting and inelastic blood vessels. (1:16)

  • 3

    High-molecular-mass hyaluronan gives naked mole rats their stretchy skin, and may also contribute to their cancer resistance. (2:14)

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