Why can elephants fight off cancer?


African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and calf walking, Masai Mara N.R, Kenya

WEB DESK: Elephants have enhanced defense mechanism which prevents cancer cells forming into tumors, scientists say.

There is a train of thought that says every cell can become cancerous so the more of them you have, the more likely you are to get cancer.

And yet the analysis, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed only 5% of elephants die from cancer compared to up to 25% of people.

Cancer is caused by mutations in a cell’s DNA that produce faulty instructions leading to rampant growth as the cell spirals out of control,

But animals also have “smoke alarms” that detect the damage and either lead to the cell being repaired or killed.

One of these alarms is called TP53, and while humans have one TP53 gene, elephants have 20.

The rise of unhealthy cancer-causing behaviours, such as obesity and sunbathing are also adding to the spread of cancer.

Source: BBC