Scientists say naked mole rats — a rodent native to West Africa — could hold the key to new therapies for degenerative illnesses corresponding to cancer and dementia.
The reclusive animals have a lifespan far in extra of different rodents — for instance, mice and rats reside about two years, whereas naked mole rats can reside for 40 or 50 years.
Researchers on the University of Bradford say the animals have a unique DNA repair mechanism that permits them to forestall cancers and different degenerative circumstances, together with dementia.
Professor Sherif El-Khamisy, Director of the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics on the University, stated: “Naked mole rats are fascinating creatures, not least as a result of they’re so lengthy lived in contrast to different rodents of the identical measurement. They additionally don’t endure from — what we name in people — age related problems, corresponding to cancer, dementia and neurological decline.
“What we’re attempting to do is to perceive what makes them so resistant and then to strive to harness that information to provide you with new therapies for cancer and circumstances like dementia in individuals.
“This is not about extending life but extending the quality of life.”
Prof El-Khamisy, from the University’s Faculty of Life Sciences, is the lead writer of a paper, DNA Homeostasis and Senescence: Lessons from the Naked Mole Rat, just lately revealed within the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
It states: “As we age, our our bodies accrue harm within the type of DNA mutations. These mutations lead to the technology of sub-optimal proteins, leading to insufficient mobile homeostasis and senescence*. The build-up of senescent cells negatively impacts the native mobile micro-environment and drives ageing related illness, together with neurodegeneration.
“Which processes show an increased burden as naked mole rats age may identify novel biological targets to mitigate our own degeneration.”
Prof El-Khamisy added: “This is a brand new space of analysis, so there are nonetheless plenty of issues we do not know. For instance, Alzheimer’s and dementia are attributable to protein aggregations within the mind and this has been a puzzle to scientists for a few years. There are questions round how these proteins kind and additionally how the physique offers with them. Clearly, naked mole rats are a lot better than us at coping with them.
“If we can work out how they do this, we could look to adopt similar systems in humans or to use these markers as a predictive tool to be able to say ‘this person is more likely to develop dementia or cancer as they age’, and then take appropriate steps.”
Naked mole rats truth file
Naked mole rats are principally hairless, wrinkly rodents that develop to between three and 13 inches.
They reside for 40 or 50 years and are immune to cancer and some kinds of ache, corresponding to that from biting bugs and spicy vegetation.
In the wild, they reside in hierarchical colonies (with a queen, troopers and employees) typically numbering up to 300, making a warren of underground tunnels and rooms the scale of a number of soccer pitches.
They reside most of their lives in caves or underground, but regardless of their lack of publicity to the solar, they’ve a robust circadian rhythm.
A pup naked mole rat weighs lower than a penny.
* In biology, homeostasis is the state of regular inside, bodily, and chemical circumstances maintained by dwelling techniques; whereas senescence is the situation or course of of degradation with age.