Elephants appear to be resistant to cancer: What can we learn from them?

Elephants hardly ever get cancer. And this knowledge could pave the way to a better understanding of the disease in humans, and possibly even inspire research into how to combat the disease in the future. Joshua Schiffman, a pediatric oncologist, led a study into the cancer fighting mechanisms in elephants. Schiffman found that elephants are resistant to cancer, because they respond twice as robustly to DNA damage by eliminating pre-cancerous cells. “Evolution has had 55 million years to figure out how to prevent cancer in elephants,” he told Time, “and now it’s our turn to try to figure out how to apply this to people.”

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Elephants appear to be resistant to cancer: What can we learn from them?

Elephants hardly ever get cancer. And this knowledge could pave the way to a better understanding of the disease in humans, and possibly even inspire research into how to combat the disease in the future. Joshua Schiffman, a pediatric oncologist, led a study into the cancer fighting mechanisms in elephants. Schiffman found that elephants are resistant to cancer, because they respond twice as robustly to DNA damage by eliminating pre-cancerous cells. “Evolution has had 55 million years to figure out how to prevent cancer in elephants,” he told Time, “and now it’s our turn to try to figure out how to apply this to people.”

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