Department News

An extra protein gives naked mole rats more power to stop cancer

February 5, 2015

A protein newly found in the naked mole rat may help explain its unique ability to ward off cancer.

The protein is associated with a cluster of genes (called a locus) that is also found in humans and mice. It’s the job of that locus to encode—or carry the genetic instructions for synthesizing —several cancer-fighting proteins. As Professor of Biology Vera Gorbunova explains, the locus found in naked mole rats encodes a total of four cancer-fighting proteins, while the human and mouse version encodes only three proteins.

The findings by Seuanov and Gorbunova research team have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.