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
Naked mole rats can live for up to 30 years, which is extraordinary for a creature of their size. (0:31)
Naked mole rats resist traditional signs of aging, such as bone wasting and inelastic blood vessels. (1:16)
High-molecular-mass hyaluronan gives naked mole rats their stretchy skin, and may also contribute to their cancer resistance. (2:14)