Scientists Find Genetic Link to Mole Rat's Cancer Immunity

by: cancercompass

Scientists at the University of Rochester say they understand why mole rats are the only mammals that don't get cancer, reports Popular Science.

A new study suggests that a gene could be what makes these animals immune to cancer.  Scientists believe the mole rat's cells express a gene, called p16, which tells cells to stop dividing.  Humans, like most mammals, have only the p27 gene to protect their cells from cancer. Scientists say cancer has found a way around that p27 gene, but the disease is stopped dead in its tracks by the p16 gene.

In the experiment, researchers injected cancer into a mole rat cell. That cell didn't engage in the non-stop proliferation associated with cancer that scientists normally see in altered mouse cells.

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