MicrobeWorld App

appsquarebannerad200x200

Join MicrobeWorld

Subscribe via Email

subscribe

Microbes After Hours

MW-Site-Banner-200x200

Click for more "Microbes After Hours" videos

Featured Image

Featured Video

Crowdsourced Microbes Heading to Station

Supporters

ASM House 200X200

Tasmanian devil colony shows immunity to cancer

Australian scientists said Wednesday that the discovery of a genetically distinct colony of Tasmanian devils may save the species from being wiped out by a contagious cancer that has decimated the population.

So far, the colony in northwestern Tasmania state has proven immune to the face cancer that has ravaged the iconic animal ā€” made famous worldwide by their Looney Tunes cartoon namesake, Taz.

"We think these devils may be able to see the cancer cells as foreign and mount an immune response against them," lead researcher Kathy Belov said. "We think more animals might survive in the wild than we initially thought."

The furry black animals spread a fast-killing cancer when they bite each other's faces. It causes grotesque facial tumors that eventually prevent them from feeding and can affect their internal organs.

Devil Facial Tumor Disease was discovered in 1996. Since then, the numbers of Tasmanian devils have plummeted by 70 percent. Last spring, Australia listed the devils as an endangered species and current estimates suggest the Tasmanian devil could be extinct within 25 years.

But Belov said the new findings, which were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society, buy more time for managing the disease and developing a vaccine.
 
 

Comments (0)

Collections (0)

 

American Society for Microbiology
2012 1752 N Street, N.W. ā€¢ Washington, DC 20036-2904 ā€¢ (202) 737-3600
American Society For Microbiology © 2014   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms of Use