Research says rats may hold cancer cure

By Charlotte Oliver, January 16, 2014

Rodents are hardly a man’s best friend — and the aggressive blind mole rat is no exception.

But according to an Israeli biologist, the underground-dwelling animals could soon be responsible for saving millions of lives. Professor Aaron Avivi has been spent 40 years conducting research on the Spalax blind mole rat at Haifa University’s Institute of Evolution — and claims the animal holds the secret to curing cancer.

Prof Avivi has found that it is impossible to infect blind mole rats with cancer using chemical carcinogens.

This cancer-resistance is supposedly related to the rat’s ability to survive underground without much oxygen.

Prof Avivi’s research also found that the rats’ cells contain a substance that can kill cancer cells in other mammals, including humans. He now plans to identify this substance. “We have a clinical goldmine in our hands, and we must dig deeper,” he said.

Last updated: 3:16pm, January 16 2014