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Cancer Roundup

November 20, 2009

Researchers have discovered a gene in the naked mole rat that protects them from developing cancer.


Cancer-fighting tricks of the mole rat. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The naked mole rat looks like a pork sausage with fangs. But medical researchers are learning to love the little rodent, because despite living thirty years it never gets cancer. In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists from the University of Rochester report that they may have discovered the mole rat’s secret: a gene called P16 that stops cells from growing when they get too crowded. They hope to learn how it works and if it reveals new ways to prevent cancer in humans.

In other cancer research news, scientists report in the journal Molecular Cell that they’ve identified key proteins involved in cell reproduction in wild mustard plants, and the counterpart proteins in humans. The work will allow them to use the plants as a model to better understand cancer growth and aging in humans. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.