October 23, 2014
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Cancer

 Health Home >> Cancer >> Health news 

Bat research could lead to new cancer and virus treatments: Study

Written by: QMI Agency
Dec. 21, 2012

Researchers are analyzing bats, including this Chinese micro bat David's myotis, to try to develop better treatments of human diseases. (Handout, CSIRO)


The genes of virus-resistant and long-living bats may eventually help researchers develop new treatments for cancer and viruses or even prevent them, a study released Friday says.

Researchers in Australia and China are sequencing the genomes of two bat species — an Australian mega bat and a Chinese micro bat — and comparing them to human genomes to find similarities and differences.

"A deeper understanding of these evolutionary adaptations in bats may lead to better treatments for human diseases, and may eventually enable us to predict or perhaps even prevent outbreaks of emerging bat viruses," said Chris Cowled, a post-doctoral fellow at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization's Australian Animal Health Laboratory.

Ad
There's a lot to learn from the evolution of the bat. After all, they've been on Earth for at least 65 million years.

Bats are known to carry deadly viruses, such as SARS and Ebola, but don't often die from them, Cowled said.

They also live a long time compared to animals of a similar size.

Bats, the only flying mammal, have "novel genes" to deal with toxins that are produced while they fly. Those genes, including P53, are involved in the development of cancer or the detection and repair of damaged DNA, the study said.

"What we found intriguing was that some of these genes also have secondary roles in the immune system," Cowled said. "We're proposing that the evolution of flight led to a sort of spill over effect, influencing not only the immune system, but also things like aging and cancer."

The study was published in the journal Science.

View more news


Did you find what you were looking for on our website? Please let us know.

The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are meant to be discussed with your physician or other qualified health care professional before being acted on. Never disregard any advice given to you by your doctor or other qualified health care professional. Always seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional regarding any questions you have about your medical condition(s) and treatment(s). This site is not a substitute for medical advice.

© 1996 - 2014 MediResource Inc. - MediResource reaches millions of Canadians each year.