Why is there such a low rate of cancer in elephants? This has been a question that has stumped scientists for decades. A new research study led by Dr. Joshua Schiffman, a pediatric oncologist at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, may have found the answer.

Schiffman’s research, which received funding from Intermountain Foundation and Intermountain Foundation at Primary Children’s Hospital, was published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and has quickly become one of the most exciting breakthroughs in pediatric cancer research.

Schiffman and colleagues confirmed that elephants have up to 40 copies of a gene named TP53, which fights cancers and other cell abnormalities. Humans have only two copies of this gene, so researchers are studying how additional copies may provide greater protection, and how this could lead to better ways to treat and possibly even prevent childhood cancer. Schiffman plans to continue his research, as well as expand it in the hopes of finding other important discoveries to find a cure for children’s cancer.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus recently launched the Ringling Bros. Children’s Fund, and pledged $500,000 to Intermountain Foundation at Primary Children’s Hospital to support cancer research and pediatric care at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Help us find a cure for pediatric cancer. Give to the Ringling Bros. Children's Fund.