Dwarf Community Immune to Cancer, May Hold Key to Cure

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Scientists are studying a community of dwarfs living in Ecuador who may hold the key to curing cancer, London’s Daily Mail reported Sunday.

Laron dwarfs grow to an average height of four-feet tall, but are in perfect proportion, scientists said.

These individuals appear to be immune to many forms of disease and live long lives.

There are about 300 sufferers of Laron dwarfism in the world, which is caused by a lack of the hormone Insulin-like Growth Factor1 (IGF1). The condition is thought to be caused by inbreeding.

About 100 Laron dwarfs live in Ecuador’s southern Loja province.

In ordinary humans, too much of IGF1 can cause breast, prostate or bowel cancers.

Dr. Jaime Guevara-Aguirre, a hormone expert from the Ecuadorean Institute of Endocrinology, who has been studying Laron dwarfism for more than 10 years, said Laron dwarfs simply do not get cancer.

“Cancer can be detected in their relatives of a normal size, but never in my patients – not one single case,” he said. “Every experiment has demonstrated that high levels of IGF1 are associated with cancer, but these patients have low levels of IGF1 and an absence of the disease.’’

Guevara-Aguirre said if scientists can find a way to reduce levels of IGF1 it could mean finding a way to prevent cancer from ever developing.

Incidentally, Laron dwarfs also appear to be immune from diabetes, despite a tendency to be obese.

Research on the Laron dwarfs is also being conducted in the United States and England.

Click here to read the full story from the Daily Mail.