A 16-year study of the only animal immune to cancer has finally had a breakthrough.
An Israeli specialist made a discovery Wednesday night that is being hailed as “radical and potentially life-changing.”
A team of researchers found that cells from the blind mole rat and its cousin the naked mole rat secrete a substance that has the ability to destroy cancer cells in mammals, including humans.
Experts believe that harvesting this substance and making it digestible would be a cure for all cancers and essentially wipe out the disease that kills 8 million people each year worldwide.
Studies forecast global cancer rates will increase to 16 million new cases by 2020.
Blind mole rats outlive all other rodents by at least 20 years with no outward signs of aging. Researchers believe that blind mole rats may be immune to cancer due to the inability to ever locate a cancerous tumor in one of them.
The team of researchers exposed blind mole rats, regular mice, and regular rates to two potent carcinogens. While the ordinary mice and rats developed tumors, the blind mole rats never did.
The study was published in BMC Biology Journal and the professor heading the team researching this substance is currently in London to present his findings to his colleagues.
According to a researcher on the team, “Exploring the molecular mechanisms may hold the key for understanding the nature of resistance to cancer and identify new strategies for treating humans.”
This research could help identify what genetic changes have occurred in the blind mole rat and then it could allow scientists to modify humans’ genetic codes and also create a radical and potentially life-saving treatment.
Researchers do predict a long road of extracting the relevant parts of the mole rats genetic differences, but this new data opened up an exciting new phase of research.