The naked mole rat, native to parts of East Africa, may just be the next step in our search for the cure to cancer. These rodents, surprisingly, are immune to cancer.
It is nearly impossible to culture naked mole rat cells in the lab. Their unique cells stop dividing once they reach a certain relatively low density. This cell property, found to be controlled in the genes p16 and p27, may very well be the cure to cancer. In human DNA, it is primarily controlled by p27, so naked mole rats have an extra layer of protection.
If this could be replicated in humans, our fight against cancer could be over!