Never win a beauty contest, but this animal hairless, blind and toothy has been chosen by the journal Science as the vertebrate 2013 . The reason is that the rat naked mole from eastern Africa, has an extraordinary resistance to cancer , which can be very useful for studying human disease and develop better drugs. It is also long-lived (30 years, a record for a rodent), acid resistant and lives in underground tunnels almost no oxygen.
Announcing his election, Science magazine cited two research articles published in 2013 by biologists from the University of Rochester. One of them suggested that the key to its high resistance to reach the end of their healthy days without cancer seems to come from the way in which these proteins rats build without errors. The second affects the tissues of these hairless rodents antitumor create a kind of shield stops immediately threatened due to the high concentration of hyaluronic acid of high molecular weight.
Fight against cancer
“The announcement of Vertebrate Year is a recognition that our work with non-conventional animal models is on the same level as other important scientific developments in cancer research,” says Vera Gorbunova, one of the investigators. Scientific and colleagues hope their work will lead someday to developing clinical treatments to prevent or control cancer in humans, but caution that any medical solution has a long way to go.
Researchers are now trying to apply these special adaptations of the hairless rat to common mice in order to test whether increased longevity and cancer resistance in the rodent. Maybe, who knows, mice can become the vertebrate 2014.