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GEN’s editorial staff interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

Researchers working with a population of dwarfs in Southern Ecuador report that they have not been able find a single case of cancer or diabetes in the group under study. The 100 or so dwarfs in Ecuador all have Laron syndrome, and only about 300 people in the entire world have been diagnosed with this condition.

All individuals with Laron's display a genetic mutation, which Dr. Valter Longo at the University of Southern California has been studying in mice for over a decade. During this week's podcast, Dr. Longo discusses what was determined to be ultimately responsible for no reported cases of cancer or diabetes in this group. He also talks about insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1), its role in normal health, and how it leads to diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Looking at the data from the Laron dwarf project as well as the results from his own work in yeast and mice, Dr. Longo describes the goal of his team's research and speculates on when we might see the first drugs on the market based on these scientific studies.
Valter D. Longo studied jazz performance and biochemistry at the University of North Texas and obtained his PhD. in biochemistry from UCLA. He completed his postdoctoral training in the neurobiology of aging at the University of Southern California (USC). He is an Associate Professor at the Andrus Gerontology Center, Norris Cancer Center and Dept. of Molecular and Computational Biology at USC, where he has been since 1997. His lab studies the molecular pathways that regulate resistance to stress, aging, and disease prevention in yeast, mice and humans, with focus on signal transduction, oxidative stress, genomic instability, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

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