It has long been said that “best things come in small packages” and recent scientific findings show a great example of that. People that suffer from an incredibly rare form of dwarfism called Laron syndrome seem to be completely immune to cancer, diabetes and other illnesses.
There are only about three hundred people with Laron syndrome in the world, with one third living in the isolated mountains of southern Ecuador. They have been subjected to an increasing number of scientific studies due to their apparent immunity to many chronic and degenerative disorders including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, despite being prone to obesity.
Speculation behind the cause of this remarkable trait focuses on the absence of the hormone insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which plays a crucial role in our body´s growth and anabolic processes. A study on mice with Laron syndrome showed amazing results – the affected group failed to develop both, diabetes or cancer, while living 50% longer than the control group.
Collectively, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases account for roughly two thirds of all deaths in the US and moreover represent a staggering global economic burden. Further research on the mechanisms of immunity in Laron syndrome patients could possibly bring forth the biggest discovery in modern medicine to date.
We invite you to watch an interesting report on Ecuadorians with Laron syndrome published by NBC News:
By Luka Zupančič, MSc, University of Applied Sciences Technikum Vienna