Link #53: A Rat Could Cure Cancer for Us!

Link #53: A Rat Could Cure Cancer for Us!

Link #53: A Rat Could Cure Cancer for Us!

naked-mole-rat
Naked mole rat. Image credit: Jedimentat44 cc2.0

In our last post, we described how British researchers found a 3,000-year-old skeleton in Sudan that had signs of cancer. This evidence proves that cancer has been with us for a long time. However, while cancer may end up being as old as nature itself, there is a solution within nature for its cure too.

Did you know that if we can tap into its latent talents, the naked mole rat or similar species of rat can help us cure cancer? That’s right, kids. The solution to the age-old problem of cancer could be rats!

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How Can a Rat Cure Cancer?

A nest of naked mole rats
A nest of naked mole rats. Image credit: Benny Mazur cc2.0

There are some species of rats that are immune to cancer and this is precisely what can help humans find a cure for cancer. The most commonly known species of rat immune to cancer is the naked mole rat.

These are rats that live underground in a social structure that is very similar to that of honeybees. The naked mole rat possesses a sugar-based natural polymer inside its cells.

According to research, it is this substance that makes naked mole rats immune to cancer. The most interesting part is that the main purpose of this substance is not to prevent cancer.

Instead, this substance’s purpose is to make naked mole rats particularly lubricated. This lubrication allows these rats to be more successful in their natural underground environments. It allows them to squeeze through impossible sections of their tunnels.

However, these qualities of the naked mole rat are only the tip of the iceberg because they are most probably the strangest creatures you’ll ever hear about.


Why Is the Naked Mole Rat Strange?

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Superheroes. Original works: Vegas Bleeds Neon, Derivative work: FRacco cc4.0

The naked mole rat possesses abilities that you’d only associate with superheroes. For example, the naked mole rat can run fast like Flash. It’s better than Flash because it can run as fast backwards as it can forward.

Moreover, the naked mole rat possesses teeth like Sabretooth. What’s more, it can manipulate its teeth like its arms in all directions. Essentially, its teeth are like its own personal chopsticks. You know how Darkman can’t feel pain? Well, the naked mole rat is like him.

The naked mole rat is completely oblivious to pain. If it were to be dipped in corrosive chemicals, the naked mole rat would show absolutely no signs of pain. That’s not all. The naked mole rat is also like Superman in that it can survive in an environment full of carbon dioxide. The tunnels that the naked mole rat lives in often have a lot of carbon dioxide in levels that can kill a human being.

Finally, for its size, the naked mole rat is extremely long lived. It lives about 10 to 20 times longer than other animals of its size. In human terms, this means a lifespan of 800 years if not more.

It is, however, its power to resist cancer that scientists are trying to find a way to harness. Once they are successful, it’s only a matter of time before its other powers are targeted too.




Can you Guess the Next Link in the Chain?

What will be the next link in our Chain of Facts? Think you might know? Scroll down to add a comment below with your best guess.

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Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naked_mole-rat
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27684001
http://phys.org/news/2014-09-sequence-naked-mole-rat-genome.html
http://www.livescience.com/37555-cancer-resistance-naked-mole-rats.html
http://www.nature.com/news/simple-molecule-prevents-mole-rats-from-getting-cancer-1.13236
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/10/03/naked_mole_rats_ugly_sure_but_their_cancer_immunity_is_a_beautiful_thing.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/evolution/10140073/Could-this-crazy-creature-help-us-cure-cancer.html

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