South American Dwarf Community "Immune" to Cancer

by Tanya Thomas on Aug 20 2008 9:19 AM

Scientists have discovered that a community of dwarfs in Ecuador called the Laron Dwarfs is “immune” to cancer! They now believe that this small South American community may reveal the cure for the killer disease.

The community of only 100 dwarfs, living in remote area of Ecuador, lack a hormone called Insulin-like Growth factor 1 (IGF1), too much of which in ordinary humans can lead to breast, prostate or bowel cancer at an early age.

These dwarfs grow to an average height of 4ft, are perfectly proportioned, live longer, and appear immune to cancer in all its forms.

Scientists believe that having less IGF1 would mean less DNA damage, which promotes cancer in certain cases.

Cancer Research UK has appreciated the findings, and called for more research.

"Laboratory work in mice, flies and worms shows that if IGF1 is removed, the animals tend not to get cancer," the Daily Express quoted Professor Bass Hassan, a Cancer Research UK oncologist and scientist at Oxford University, as saying.

"This is now mirrored in research into small humans who turn out to have no IGF1, as in Laron dwarfs.

"It might be possible to reduce it and so live longer with a reduced risk of cancer. This might lead us into to an important aspect of cancer prevention but it needs more research," Hassan added.