Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How underground rodent wards off cancer: Second mole rat species has different mechanism for resisting cancer

Date:
November 5, 2012
Source:
University of Rochester
Summary:
Biologists have determined how blind mole rats fight off cancer -- and the mechanism differs from what they discovered three years ago in another long-lived and cancer-resistant mole rat species, the naked mole rat.

A blind mole rat is shown on the background of dying necrotic blind mole rat cells.
Credit: University of Rochester

Biologists at the University of Rochester have determined how blind mole rats fight off cancer -- and the mechanism differs from what they discovered three years ago in another long-lived and cancer-resistant mole rat species, the naked mole rat.

The team of researchers, led by Professor Vera Gorbunova and Assistant Professor Andrei Seluanov, found that abnormally growing cells in blind mole rats secrete the interferon beta protein, which causes those cells to rapidly die. Seluanov and Gorbunova hope the discovery will eventually help lead to new cancer therapies in humans. Their findings are being published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Blind mole rats and naked mole rats -- both subterranean rodents with long life spans -- are the only mammals never known to develop cancer. Three years ago, Seluanov and Gorbunova determined the anti-cancer mechanism in the naked mole rat. Their research found that a specific gene -- p16 -- makes the cancerous cells in naked mole rats hypersensitive to overcrowding, and stops them from proliferating when too many crowd together.

"We expected blind mole rats to have a similar mechanism for stopping the spread of cancerous cells," said Seluanov. "Instead, we discovered they've evolved their own mechanism."

Gorbunova and Seluanov made their discovery by isolating cells from blind mole rats and forcing them to proliferate in culture beyond what occurs in the animal. After dividing approximately 15-20 times, all of the cells in the culture dish died rapidly. The researchers determined that the rapid death occurred because the cells recognized their pre-cancerous state and began secreting a suicidal protein, called interferon beta. The precancerous cells died by a mechanism which kills both abnormal cells and their neighbors, resulting in a "clean sweep."

"Not only were the cancerous cells killed off, but so were the adjacent cells, which may also be prone to tumorous behavior," said Seluanov.

"While people don't use the same cancer-killing mechanism as blind mole rats, we may be able to combat some cancers and prolong life, if we could stimulate the same clean sweep reaction in cancerous human cells," said Gorbunova.

The research team also included Christopher Hine, Xiao Tian, and Julia Ablaeva in Rochester, Andrei Gudkov at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY, and Eviatar Nevo at the University of Haifa in Israel.

Gorbunova and Seluanov say they next want to find out exactly what triggers the secretion of interferon beta after cancerous cells begin proliferating in blind mole rats.

Gorbunova believes the anti-cancer mechanism is an adaptation to subterranean life. "Blind mole rats spend their lives in underground burrows protected from predators," said Gorbunova. "Living in this environment, they could perhaps afford to evolve a long lifespan, which includes developing efficient anti-cancer defenses."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Rochester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vera Gorbunova, Christopher Hine, Xiao Tian, Julia Ablaeva, Andrei V. Gudkov, Eviatar Nevo, and Andrei Seluanov. Cancer resistance in the blind mole rat is mediated by concerted necrotic cell death mechanism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 5, 2012 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1217211109

Cite This Page:

University of Rochester. "How underground rodent wards off cancer: Second mole rat species has different mechanism for resisting cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121105200058.htm>.
University of Rochester. (2012, November 5). How underground rodent wards off cancer: Second mole rat species has different mechanism for resisting cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121105200058.htm
University of Rochester. "How underground rodent wards off cancer: Second mole rat species has different mechanism for resisting cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121105200058.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins