Cancer-Proof Rodents: My New “Matter” Column for the New York Times

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At this weekend’s Cancer and Evolution meeting, one of the highlights was a talk from a husband-and-wife team of biologists at Rochester University about naked mole rats. As far as scientists can tell, naked mole rats don’t get cancer, despite living up to 30 years. That’s pretty remarkable when you consider that another rodent–the lab mouse–has a 47% cancer rate during its brief, two-year life.

So a number of researchers have been searching the biology of naked mole rats for their secret. The Rochester scientists may have found a crucial ingredient in their cancer defense. And, by happy coincidence, Nature is publishing their report today. That’s the subject of my “Matter” column this week. Check it out.