The latest possible cure for cancer may come from the world's longest living rats, which laugh off the disease with a super sugar molecule called HMM-HA, new research finds.
The discovery really is sweet, as humans might be able to boost their HA power, improving their chances for longevity and warding off cancer.
PHOTO: Rate the Subway Rat
It's certainly worked well for naked mole rats, since they live around 6 times longer than the average rodent.
HMM-HA (the acronym for Hyaluronan) prevents cancer and aging because it stops cells from overcrowding and forming tumors, according to scientists from the University of Rochester and the University of Haifa. "Overcrowding," in this case, essentially means that the super sugar prevents cells from coming into unnecessary contact with each other and growing into something bigger.
"Contact inhibition, a powerful anticancer mechanism, discovered by the Rochester team, arresting cell growth when cells come into contact with each other, is lost in cancer cells," said Eviatar Nevo from the University of Haifa group, in a press release. "The experiments showed that when HMM-HA was removed from naked mole rat cells, they became susceptible to tumors and lost their contact inhibition."