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The Inner Beauty of Naked Mole Rats
Transcript of The Inner Beauty of Naked Mole Rats
So What Makes these Cells Cancer Resistant?
Testing the Hypothesis
To test their hypothesis they genetically engineered naked mole rat cells that couldn't produce hyaluronan.
These cells did were much closer together than the regular naked mole rat cells.
They then added a cancer producing protein.
Sure enough these cells created tumors proving that the hyaluronan is why these rodents are cancer resistant.
Science Friday on NPR
Producer: Luke Groskin
Researches: Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov biologists at the University of Rochester
Why Naked Mole Rat?
These rodents live around 30 years and have the longest life expectancy of a rodent.
They generally do not get sick as they get older and stay healthy to the end.
And most importantly the naked mole rat does not get cancer.
Study of Cells
When Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov compared the cells of a naked mole rat to the cell of a human one thing was very clear. Human cells were much closer together where as the naked mole rat's cells had more space.
Contact inhibition which means when they are in contact they no longer divide to create new cells.
Cancerous cells loose this and multiply uncontrollably which creates tumors.
Naked mole rats cells are hyper sensitive to contact inhibition.
Hyaluronan: An anionic long unbranched polymeric carbohydrates that fills the space between our cells.
When these biologists investigated further they found that the hyaluronan molecule found in naked moles rats was five to ten times longer than the hyaluronan found in humans
They hypothesized that this was directly related to why the naked mole rat's cells were cancer resistant.
They really are beautiful.
These scientist will continue their research by introducing naked mole rat hyaluronan into rats in order to see if they become more cancer resistant.