Studying Nature’s secrets, and animals’ medical superpowers

Studying Nature’s secrets, and animals’ medical superpowers
Studying Nature’s secrets, and animals’ medical superpowers

On the Dwelling Desert Zoo & Gardens, in Palm Desert, California, it is onerous to not marvel at giraffes, with their towering top and light methods. Nevertheless it seems they might be medical marvels as properly.

Doctor and biomedical researcher Dr. Davis Agus notes that giraffes have a blood stress of about 280 over 180, greater than twice as excessive as that of a human. “After we, as people, get elevated blood stress, we begin to have important coronary heart illness, stroke, kidney issues; that does not occur to a giraffe,” he stated.

Agus, the CEO of the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Drugs and a CBS Information medical contributor, can be the writer of “The Book of Animal Secrets,” revealed by Simon & Schuster (part of CBS’ guardian firm, Paramount International).

Vigliotti requested, “Do animals actually have secrets and techniques?”

/ Credit score: Simon & Schuster

“Animals haven’t got secrets and techniques, however they’ve behaviors which might be secrets and techniques inside them that might assist our human well being,” Agus replied.

These classes can come from throughout the animal kingdom, whether or not it is wanting as much as birds in our efforts to push back dementia (“Birds can migrate everywhere in the world and get to the place they are going. They use sure landmarks, So, if you wish to retain cognitive perform for a very long time, it is advisable to do actions that contain sample recognition and that bodily exercise”); or weight-reduction plan and exercising, like a rhino (“The very best train we will do is on, off, on, off, somewhat than preserve pushing, preserve pushing, preserve pushing. Nevertheless it’s the dash, cease, dash, cease, which is how a rhino workouts”).

They might look like small steps, however Agus says that, in the long term, these sorts of adjustments may alter the course of our lives, and presumably have an effect on what he phrases “ailments of civilization,” akin to Alzheimer’s, coronary heart illness or most cancers. “These are large ailments that principally advanced from our life-style,” he stated. “We most likely cannot stop them 100%, however we will delay them.”

“Do we discover these ailments of civilization in nature?” Vigliotti requested.

“After all. I imply, we see them sometimes in nature, however they are much decrease frequency and they occur at a a lot later level of their life. Coronary heart illness, very uncommon in nature; most cancers very uncommon in nature. And numerous that’s due to their life-style.”

Attending to the underside of these variations has develop into the life’s work of researchers like Dr. Joshua Schiffman, a professor of pediatric hematology-oncology on the College of Utah, who says, “Every animal has a secret energy, has a superpower.”

Schiffman can be the CEO and co-founder of Peel Therapeutics, a biotech firm trying to faucet into nature’s superpowers to develop therapies for individuals.

A number of years in the past, he took a particular curiosity within the elephants on the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake Metropolis. Fewer than 5% of elephants die of most cancers, in comparison with as much as 25% of people. “Look how large they’re! 100 instances the dimensions of you and me. That is 100 instances as many cells. All of those elephants ought to be dying of most cancers, they should not even be right here proper now.”

However they’re, because of what Schiffman calls a superhero gene that fights off cancerous cells. “As an alternative of two copies of the p53 gene, like people have – one from mother, one from dad – elephants have 40! Twenty instances as a lot!”

That gene is a spotlight for Schiffman and his colleagues at Huntsman Most cancers Institute in Salt Lake Metropolis. There, they examine animal cells despatched from zoos across the nation, and Schiffman says a few of these so-called animal secrets and techniques could possibly be game-changers.

Schiffman stated, “We principally made copies of that p53 gene from elephants, and we put it into human most cancers cells. And we watched these most cancers cells simply explode, simply burst. Gone, simply shattered like shrapnel, bits and items, nothing.”

Elephants have twenty times the number of p53 genes that human have - genes that are potentially helpful in battling cancer.  / Credit: CBS News

Elephants have twenty instances the variety of p53 genes that human have – genes which might be probably useful in battling most cancers. / Credit score: CBS Information

Vigliotti stated, “You are telling me proper now that there’s a technique to translate the success of that genetic success [of elephants], and cross it on to people?”

“Nicely, that is what we’re making an attempt to do,” he replied. “That is the holy grail. However that is the thought, proper? So, what we have to do is observe nature’s roadmap to stopping most cancers.”

Nature’s roadmap may not lead us to a remedy for years and even many years, however Agus says animals have loads of secrets and techniques to share within the meantime, if solely we’re prepared to pay attention, whether or not it is issues we will study from dolphins about Alzheimer’s, or from ants about infectious illness. “We’re simply scratching the floor of what we will study from the animal kingdom,” stated Agus. “You and I want it. We have to study extra.”

READ AN EXCERPT: “The Book of Animal Secrets” by Dr. David Agus   

For more information:

“The Book of Animal Secrets” by David B. Agus (Simon & Schuster), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio codecs, out there March 7 through AmazonBarnes & Noble and IndieboundDr. David Agus, CEO, Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative MedicineDr. Joshua Schiffman, professor of pediatric hematology-oncology, University of UtahPeel TherapeuticsThe Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Palm Desert, Calif.Hogle Zoo, Salt Lake Metropolis

Story produced by Sara Kugel. Editor: Remington Korper. 

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