Researchers say Elephant gene studies could help fight cancer in humans

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When it comes to finding a cure to a disease,  it can be a tedious process for researchers.

But, every now in then something pops that gives us a little more hope, and this time the thing that is giving us hope are elephants!

Pediatric oncologist, Dr. Joshua Schiffman, is working to figure how less than five percent of elephants die from cancer compared to the 25 percent of humans.

One theory researchers believe enables them to beat cancer is the possibility of what they call a "zombie" gene. This kind of gene apparently can kill itself to prevent the cancer cells from developing from damaged DNA.

There's no definite answer on how the gene can help humans at this moment, but Schiffman does point out that along with the zombie gene, elephants also possess dozens of another genes called p53. This gene is known as a tumor suppressor.

Humans only have two copies of p53, and when they are inactive cancer is allowed to grow and spread. With elephants, Schiffman says that p53 genes give zombie genes some sort of boost, enabling even more cancer fighting genes to take action!

This may all sound a bit sciency, but the bottom line is, there's hope! And every little piece of evidence we can find to help us get closer to a cure for cancer is a step in the right direction.

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