Scientists are trying to determine whether a group of dwarfs in Ecuador -- all of them living in a remote village on the slopes of the Andes Mountains -- could hold the clues to cure cancer.
The members of the group, about 100 of them closely studied by researchers from the University of Southern California, almost never get cancer or diabetes. And they all suffer from mutated genes that lower their growth hormone activity, stunting their growth.
In an article published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers suggest that blocking growth hormone in full-grown adults, through prescription drugs or a special diet, could unlock the mysteries of cancer.
If it works, and blocking growth hormones in adults has only minor side effects, societies in the future could live without major illnesses, said, cell biologist Valter Longo of the University of Southern California who led the team studying the dwarfs.
But even if blocking hormones comes with a minor side effect, Longo predicted that societies and governments would make the trade in exchange for less chronic disease.
"It's the dream of every administration, anywhere in the world," Longo said in a statement release by USC. "You live a long healthy life, and then you drop dead."
Read more on the dwarf village and see a slideshow at Fox Latino.