New venture supports pediatric cancer research based on recent findings that cancer rates with elephants are significantly lower than with humans.
The new venture was announced by the owners of the Feld Entertainment Inc. company, Feld Family in partnership with the Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, as well as the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Utah and the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Doctor Joshua Schiffman, author of a new study on pediatric cancer featuring in the JAMA and working with the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
For over 16,000 children who are diagnosed with cancer annually in the U.S. the new funding venture props hopes that more research based on the most recent findings will improve their chances and offer the prospects of a healthy life.
The most recent findings indicating that elephants have very low cancer rates over the span of their lifetime lay the foundation of the new research venture. Scientists with the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation Research, Doctor Schiffman and other collaborators confirmed that elephants’ mortality rate due to cancer is under 5 percent. With human patients, the same mortality rate spikes at 25 percent. Against this background, translating what makes elephants so resilient in the face of the disease is of paramount importance for further research aiding to fight cancer with humans and decreasing the mortality rate.
Findings resulting from elephant genome analysis indicate that they posses 40 copies of a gene dubbed TP53, which is a tumor suppressor. By comparison, humans only possess two copies of the tumor suppressing gene. At the same time, when exposing the elephant DNA to damaging agents, the joint scientific team found that the cells of elephants die more rapidly than human cells. This may be one of the reason due to which elephants rarely develop cancer.
Started on the basis of these findings, the new venture supports pediatric cancer research with regard to bringing new applications in translational research. Improving children’s health and life hope is the number one priority of the cancer research venture.
The umbrella for the newly founded venture will be Feld Family’s Ringling Bros. Children’s Fund. Another addition to the charity efforts spearheaded by the Feld Family, the Ringling Bros.
Children Fund will work closely with its partners to set up a working plan. The first measure announced on behalf of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey and Ringling Bros. Children’s Fund is the donation of 1 million dollars in support of treatment and cancer research benefiting children and teenagers nationwide.
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