Biologists at the University of Rochester writing in Aging Cell have found that small-bodied rodents with long lifespans have evolved a previously unknown anti-cancer mechanism that appears to be different from any anti-cancer mechanisms employed by humans or other large mammals.
Understanding this mechanism may help prevent cancer in humans because many human cancers originate from stem cells and similar mechanisms may regulate stem cell division.
"We haven't come across this anti-cancer mechanism before because it doesn't exist in the two species most often used for cancer research: mice and humans," says Vera Gorbunova, assistant professor of biology at the University of Rochester, a principal investigator of this study. "Mice are short-lived and humans are large-bodied. But this mechanism appears to exist only in small, long-lived animals."