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    Sunil Kumar
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    Naked mole rats offer a new perspective on how cancer works and how we can treat it.

    Old style model frameworks, for example, cell culture and mice are critical to getting malignant growth. However, what would we be able to learn by inspecting how malignancy functions in different models? Creatures like stripped mole rodents and Tasmanian fallen angels offer another viewpoint on how malignant growth functions and how we can treat it.
    If we can find a way to prevent the bio­logical processes that lead people to become susceptible to these diseases, that may be a lot easier [than treating them],” said Gorbunova.
    Naked mole rats live longer than any other rodents. They can live nearly thirty-five years — a mouse the same size only lives four. While mice are more susceptible to cancer than humans , naked mole rats have an incredibly low incidence of cancer, and they don’t experience age-related disease at all.

    Naked mole rat’s eternal youth attracted Gorbunova like a moth to the flame. If she could find the rat’s secret, she may not find a “cure” for cancer, but she may be able to prevent it from developing in the first place.
    Gorbunova said “I am interested in mechanisms that nat­urally evolved to provide resistance to can­cer and other diseases,”. “Obviously, we have to study animals that live long and don’t develop these diseases in the first years of life.”
    Hyaluronan is a clear, gooey substance secreted by cells to become part of the extra­cellular matrix. It regulates many cellular processes, including cell-to-cell interac­tions and proliferation.
    Hine discovered that naked mole rat fibroblasts produced high levels of a version of hyaluronic acid that is five times larger than that found in mice or humans. This so-called high molecular mass hyaluronic acid seems to tell fibroblasts that cells are begin­ning to come in contact with each other before the cells become too dense in culture.
    Gorbunova’s group postulated that high molecular mass hyaluronic acid may be overly abundant in naked mole rat skin to keep it flexible while the rats tunnel in the ground. Cancer prevention was probably just a bonus.

    Gorbunova now searches for drugs to enrich the amount of high-molecular mass hyaluronic acid in humans to prevent regrowth of cancer or its development in patients with high risk.

    Hyaluronic acid is just one of the unique anti-aging mechanisms Gorbunova and her team discovered. They recently identified novel mechanisms for regulating telomere length and DNA methylation to prevent cel­lular senescence and DNA damage.

    As much as Gorbunova loves her naked mole rats, they don’t love her back.

    “Maybe the most disappointing part is that they pay no attention to you,” said Gor­bunova. “They live in colonies and have quite busy social lives.”

    Although unrequited love isn’t her main motivation, Gorbunova also investigates other animals to determine how they avoid getting cancer.

    Gorbunova is working out cancer pre­venting processes in long-lived, cancer resis­tant animals such as blue whales and grey squirrels, with the goal of moving their can­cer resistance mechanisms into the clinic.

    “I want to understand how these mecha­nisms work from the genetic point of view, and then the next step is to develop small molecules and pharmaceuticals that can swing the system in the same way as a grey squirrel or a naked mole rat,” said Gorbunova.

    Credit and Source
    DDN : drugdiscoverynews

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