Skip to main content

Elephants and Cancer...the Strange Paradox

Give the immense size of elephants, the amount of cells they have (about 100 times more than humans), and their relatively long life span of around 70 years, it stands to reason that elephants should get cancer and die from it more often than we as humans do.

But that's not what happens.

Instead, elephants die from cancer at a rate of just around five percent. In contrast, humans suffer cancer-related deaths at a rate of 11 to 25 percent.

So, why the big difference? Scientists believe they may have figured that one out.

In a recent paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers showed that elephants have 20 copies of a gene called TP53, which is known for its ability to create a protein that suppresses tumors. Humans have just one copy of TP53.

Scientists conducted experiments (by exposing white blood cells collected from elephants and humans to radiation that damaged the cells' DNA) to see what role the extra tumor-fighting genes might play in keeping cancer at bay in elephants. Scientists figured out that the elephant cells would likely just repair themselves faster because of the extra TP53 genes, but they were in for a surprise.

Turns out that the elephants' damaged cells actually died at a much faster rate than the human cells. Essentially, the extra TP53 caused the elephant white blood cells to just kill themselves rather than pass on potentially dangerous mutations.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Questioned by the Police? - Don't Forget Your Rights

One of the special things about our country's criminal justice system is that if you are suspected or accused of committing a crime, you have certain fundamental rights. Unfortunately though, many people aren't aware of their rights, or, in the head of the moment, they forget about those rights.

For instance, citizens who find themselves being questioned and in police custody may not even be aware that they have a basic fundamental right to have an attorney present any time they are being questioned by any branch of law enforcement.

Truth is, having an attorney present if you are being quested is vitally important.

Why is that?

For one thing, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you from incriminating yourself, can make sure that you don't answer questions that are designed to trick you, and can keep officers from asking the same question over and over again. Bottom line - having a criminal defense attorney on your side can help make sure that you don't ma…

Your Rights When You're Pulled Over for a Supected DUI

Fact is, most people don't even know their rights if they're pulled over! Here's a quick list of the most important rights you need to know and how the conversation may go if you are pulled over:

"Do you know why I pulled you over?" It's typically the first thing you'll hear. It's also deliberately designed to get you to admit to certain behavior. Be polite and simply ask, "Why do you ask?" and then wait for a response. Do not comment. That phrase "anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law" is truer than you'll ever know, trust us.

"Have you had anything to drink tonight?" If you truthfully have had nothing to drink that night, say, "No." If you've had something to drink, you don't have to share that information! Telling the officer that you've been drinking will be evidence used against you. Instead, say, "I have no statement to make." While it may seem unnatura…

Research on New IBD Treatment in Full Swing

Over 1 million Americans are beset with irritable bowel disease (IBD), an umbrella term for various chronic, debilitating inflammatory intestinal conditions, including Chron's disease and ulcerative colitis. Symptoms of IBD include severe diarrhea, pain, fatigue, and weight loss. Currently, treatment options are limited, with many depending on daily enemas to find a measure of relief.

Daily enemas, as one could imagine, are uncomfortable and impractical. In addition, the drugs utilized in enemas are also absorbed by healthy tissues that don't need them, sometimes resulting in further complications.

However, a research team from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, in coordination with other research centers, offers hope of a better way for IBD sufferers: hydrogel.  The hydrogel is composed of ascorbyl palmitate (AP), which is already an FDA-approved material, and is an excellent carrier of medication.

Inflamed tissue is positively charged, while AP is negatively charged…