All Species Are Not Created Equal

Some species sidestep cancer almost entirely while others are highly prone to it, a disparity that has scientists looking to learn from certain animals’ built-in defense mechanisms—or lack thereof—to better address cancer in humans.

Take elephants: One might assume their size and longevity give cells ample opportunities to develop cancer, yet they don’t. As one research duo discovered, elephants have unique defense mechanisms against cancer, including 40 copies of a gene that keeps tumor at bay, while humans have just 2.

And while 50% of golden retrievers die of cancer, research has found that mole rats stave off the disease with tumor-suppressing genes and hyaluronic acid.

The Washington Post

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