Elephants Have Special Genes That Keep Them From Getting Cancer

Published August 14, 2018 324 Plays

Rumble In elephants, an old set of extra genes is still intact. They kill off cells with damaged DNA, which makes elephants practically immune to cancer.

Have you ever wondered if animals get sick like humans? Whether thinking about if your pet can get sick from a cold you have or other animals can suffer from diseases that we suffer from? It is a very interesting study and actually, this video is about specials genes that elephants have that keep them from getting cancer. Very fortunate for them as cancer is a very big problem for humans and definitely very deadly. This is great for researches as they can look for ways to apply this to humans so that it can help fight off cancerous cells and finally get rid of cancer.

Scientists at the University of Chicago identified a specific gene that helps Elephants be practically immune to cancer, called the LIF6. This basically kills the cells with damaged DNA which is what causes cancer. It attacks cancer at the start before it even has time to spread. This is obviously very useful as people normally usually have damaged cells that become cancer then spreads and it grows and grows. With this gene, the cells would not even grow and be allowed to spread, it would be shut down before it has the chance. As of now, this gene is only found in elephants according to researchers.

As researchers and scientists began to study LIF6 more, they found that even though it is only found in Elephants at the moment, it can be made to work for other animals. They have tried it on mice with cancer and the LIF6 has stopped cancer in these mice! That is great news, it can be tested on more and more life forms and hopefully, a way to use it on humans can come from it. Elephants are definitely going to be a very popular research subject with this new knowledge! Scientists can’t wait to start studying LIF6 more and more and see how they can apply it to humans.

Elephants are not the first animal that has been known to be practically immune to cancer. Researchers have studied both sharks and naked mole rats, both known to not get cancer. As it turns out, the more research they did on these animals, they found that the things that made them virtually immune, actually made cancer worse in humans. They still don’t know why that was but hopefully, LIF6 will be different. This is what makes finding cures so difficult, the structure in the human body is much different from a lot of animals and it makes it hard to apply certain genes or molecules that work for an animal.

It is very promising that the LIF6 gene was transferred over to mice and it worked. Hopefully, this becomes useful in applying it to saving human lives. This video is a great watch if you like hearing about new developments in medicine and science. This is great news as cancer is a very deadly disease and takes so many lives each year. Finding a cure would be one of the greatest achievements in medicine. Hopefully, these elephants can help out with the cure for cancer!