Elephants Could Hold The Secret to a Cure for Cancer

August 15, 2018
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1080 KRLD (DALLAS) - Since the 1970's, Elephants have puzzled scientists. Due to their size, they should be prone to cancer. They weigh as much as 8 tons which means they have a lot of cells.

All of those cells arose from a single fertilized egg, and each time a cell divides, there’s a chance that it will gain a mutation that could lead to cancer.

However, some research suggests they get less cancer than humans do. A team of researchers has revealed what may be a partial solution to that mystery: Elephants protect themselves with a unique gene that aggressively kills off cells whose DNA has been damaged.

In 2015, scientists discovered that elephants have evolved unusual p53 genes. While we only have one copy of the gene, elephants have 20 copies.

Scientist say understanding how elephants fight cancer may provide inspiration for developing new drugs.