I have finished my exams hoorah!! 😀 Now, to fill my time I have started a blog. AND THIS IS MY FIRST POST (and it’s going to be about naked mole rat)
I think most people’s reaction to naked mole rats is ew, but I think there’s something so innocent and ever so slightly charming about them… in their own unique way?! I find it very interesting, the way that they live in colonies (like termites and ants) but, being mammals, they are so much more developed. They have virtually the same hierarchical system to these insect colonies, i.e. a queen who is the only individual to give birth, and all the rest are workers/soldiers. HOWEVER, the thing I wanted to write about is their possible help in finding a cure to cancer…
Naked mole rats don’t get cancer. Yep astonishing as it might sound, they can indeed live to the grand old age of 30! That’s quite a lot longer than your average hamster! Scientists from America, China and Israel have identified the compound, called hyaluronan, a sugary substance, in cultured skin cells from the rodents, and believe that this is the key to their cancer-fighting abilities.
Astonishingly, this is not the first time people have been aware of this molecule. It is used to alleviate pain from arthritis and is even found in anti-wrinkle creams. Yep your avon face cream may in fact have a cure to cancer in it!!!
What has also become evident is that this molecule did not evolve because it gave the organism that carried it a defense against cancer. The acquisition of this molecule was favoured because it gave the mole rat a distinctive elastic skin which it needs to squeeze through underground tunnels and chambers.
For more information on this topic, there was an article published in nature about it 🙂 Thanks for reading