So there’s some truth to the old superhero trope of radiation exposure leading to powers?
It’s not necessarily that simple, though some recent scientific discoveries do have somewhat promising implications for the fight against cancer.
Researchers have been tracking and monitoring animals found in the Chernobyl Evacuation Zone, and they’ve found that many animals living in the area have altered immune systems that seem to be resilient to cancer.
The news is shocking to say the least, considering it would mean that beings that have been living in the “unlivable conditions” of the CEZ have actually benefited from calling the wasteland home.
Of course, that wasteland is the result of the Chernobyl disaster, which took place in April of 1986 and is considered to be the worst nuclear accident in the history of mankind.
The nuclear power plant located in Ukraine malfunctioned, causing an explosion that resulted in the release of cancer-causing radiation and debris into the atmosphere.
Radiation levels there are still six times the exposure amount that is safe for humans, and it’s believed that it could take 20,000 years for the immediate area to be habitable.
But with that being said, wildlife that has remained in the Chernobyl area have somehow managed to thrive. Horses, elk, deer, lynx, bears, dogs (that are likely descendants from those that were left behind during the evacuation) and many other animals have withstood the radiation levels in the area.
That has interested researchers, and prompted a team of them out of Princeton University to better understand how the wild animals have been able to live in an area with cancer-causing radiation.
Biologists and scientists went into the area and trapped wolves, then took blood samples and equipped them with GPS collars with radiation detection technology that gave them real time measurements.
They then studied all of the genetics and information they gathered and found that not only were the wolves living in areas that should be delivering fatal doses of daily radiation, but the wolves were also virtually unaffected by the radiation.
Further examination revealed that genes linked to cancer that the wolves possessed had mutated, which led researchers to believe that they’ve evolved to basically be a radiation protectant.
This newfound information and research is fascinating, and hopes to pave a way for cancer experts to hone in on human mutations that could potentially reduce cancer risk, and possibly one day be utilized to cure cancer in humans.