2011-02-17 Study on Dwarfs Brings Us Closer to Understanding Cancer


In a very interesting story published in the New York Times on Thursday, scientists say they are closer to unlocking the mysteries of cancer and increasing longevity through their studies of community of dwarfs living in a remote village in Ecuador.

Now the common factor among the Ecuadorian villagers is that they all have a genetic mutation that is blocking a key growth hormone, and this mutation seems to offer lifelong protection against cancer and diabetes.

Specifically, this is a mutation in the gene that makes the receptor for growth hormone, making it unable to react to growth hormone.

In children without this gene mutation, growth hormone forces liver cells to produce another hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which makes the children grow. If children with the mutation are given IGF-1 prior to reaching puberty, they can grow to a relatively normal height. ( Read the entire article)

2008-08-16 'Immune' to cancer: The astonishing dwarf community in Ecuador who co uld hold the key to a cure



A community of dwarfs living in a remote corner of Ecuador could hold the key to curing cancer, according to scientists.

The Laron dwarfs, who are in perfect proportion but grow only to an average height of 4ft, appear to be immune to all forms of the disease and are long-lived.

Now scientists studying a hormone present in other humans but which is lacking in the dwarfs believe their findings could lead to the development of an effective anti-cancer drug.

Leading British cancer experts have welcomed the research, which they said could be important in preventing the killer disease.

There are a little more than 300 people in the world with the condition Laron dwarfism, a third of whom live in remote villages in Ecuador’s southern Loja province.

Sufferers of Laron – believed to be caused by inbreeding – lack a hormone called Insulin-like Growth Factor 1, or IGF1.(Read the entire article)