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Lab Reports
January 2, 2013

Why Mole Rats Are Cancer Free

JAMA. 2013;309(1):20. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.173449

An unusual cell death mechanism contributes to cancer resistance of the blind mole rat, a small subterranean rodent with remarkable longevity (Gorbunova V et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109[47]:19392-19396).

Researchers at the University of Rochester, in New York, and their colleagues found that fibroblast cells from the rats proliferate actively for 7 to 20 population doublings, after which the cells begin secreting interferon-beta, and the cultures undergo massive necrotic cell death within 3 days. This phenomenon depends on the p53 and retinoblastoma tumor suppressor proteins.

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