Dr. Weeks’ Comments: It was almost 30 years ago when I first studied the relationship between hyaluronic acid, its stable form which supports cellular matrix hyaluronan and the enzyme which liberates it, hyaluronase. I learned, in essence, that these three components of cellular structure are engaged in prevention of cancer but, in those days, the primary mode of administration was via honeybee venom, apitherapy – a natural venom rich in the anti-cancer substances described below: hyaluronic acid and hyaluronan.
As Goethe’s Faust reminded us Nature offers the remedies but often hides them in venoms or hard to extract places.
“Everything fails me – every thing –
These instruments, do they not all
Mock me? Lathe, cylinder, and ring,
And cog and wheel – in vain I call
On you for aid, ye keys of Science,
I stand before the guarded door
Of Nature; but it bids defiance
To latch or ward: in vain I prove
Your powers – the strong bolts will not move.
Mysterious, in the blaze of day,
Nature pursues her tranquil way:
The veil she wears, if hand profane
Should seek to raise, it seeks in vain,
Though from her spirit thine receives,
When hushed it listens and believes,
Secrets – revealed, else vainly sought,
Her free gift when man questions not,__
Think not with levers or with screws
To wring them out if she refuse.”
And, the Bard Shakespeare concurs:
Poison hath residence and medicine power.
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part.
Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart.
Two such opposed kings encamp them still.
In man as well as herbs, grace and rude will
And where the worse is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.
Scene Three of Romeo and Juliet
Naked Mole Rat’s Secret to Staying Cancer Free
“…This opens new avenues for cancer prevention and life extension in human medicine…”
July 31, 2013 ”” Mice and rats have long since been a standard animal model for cancer research, mainly due to their short lifespan of four years on average and high incidence of cancer. Naked mole rats however, are a mystery among mammals. This social tiny African subterranean rodent has a maximum lifespan exceeding 30 years and most surprisingly, is cancer-resistant. The fact that so far, not a single incident of cancer has been detected makes the naked mole rat a fitting model for finding novel ways to fight cancer.Recently, a team of researchers from the University of Rochester in New York and the University of Haifa found the naked mole rat’s unique mechanism to staying cancer free – a super sugar called high-molecular-mass Hyaluronan (HMM-HA). They discovered that when secreted from the naked mole rat’s cells, HMM-HA prevents cells from overcrowding and forming tumors. “Contact inhibition, a powerful anticancer mechanism, discovered by the Rochester team, arresting cell growth when cells come into contact with each other, is lost in cancer cells,” explains Prof. Eviatar Nevo, from the Institute of Evolution at the University of Haifa, “The experiments showed that when HMM-HA was removed from naked mole rat cells, they became susceptible to tumors and lost their contact inhibition.”
HMM-HA is a form of Hyaluronan- a long sugar polymer, naturally present as a lubricant in the extracellular matrix of the human body. It is commonly used in the treatment of arthritis or in anti-wrinkle skin care products. According to the current results, the naked mole rat cells secrete extremely high-molecular mass HA, which is over five times larger than human or mouse HA. This high-molecular-mass HA accumulates abundantly in naked mole rat tissues, owing to a more robust synthesis by a protein called HAS2 and a decreased activity of HA-degrading enzymes. When researchers compared the Has2 gene between the naked mole rat and other mammals, they discovered that two unique amino acids, (asparagines), that are 100% conserved among mammals, were replaced by two other amino acids (serines), in the naked mole rat. These unique amino acid changes may be responsible for the high processivity of the naked mole rat HAS2 protein- in charge of HA synthesis. The naked mole rat cells display a two-fold higher affinity to HA than mouse or human cells, contributing to the higher sensitivity of naked mole rat cells to HA signaling. Remarkably, explains Professor Nevo, “the cells of the Israeli solitary blind mole rat, Spalax, which is phylogenetically closer to mice and rats than to naked mole rats, also secreted HMM-HA. This highlights a parallel evolution in unrelated subterranean mammals, presumably a shared adaptation to life underground.”
The researchers speculate that naked mole rats evolved higher concentrations of HA in the skin to provide the skin elasticity needed for life in underground tunnels. So far, experiments in human cells have been very limited. However, there has been some evidence showing there is reason for hope. In one of their experiments, the researchers noticed that when naked mole rat HAS2 synthesis protein was over-expressed in human cell tissues, the cells began secreting HMM-HA. This opens new avenues for cancer prevention and life extension in human medicine.