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An oral bait vaccination approach for the Tasmanian devil facial tumor diseases


Flies, AS and Flies, EJ and Fox, S and Gilbert, A and Johnson, SR and Liu, G-S and Lyons, AB and Patchett, AL and Pemberton, D and Pye, RJ, An oral bait vaccination approach for the Tasmanian devil facial tumor diseases, Expert Review of Vaccines, 19, (1) pp. 1-10. ISSN 1476-0584 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/14760584.2020.1711058


Introduction: The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is the largest extant carnivorous marsupial. Since 1996, its population has declined by 77% primarily due to a clonal transmissible tumor, known as devil facial tumor (DFT1) disease. In 2014, a second transmissible devil facial tumor (DFT2) was discovered. DFT1 and DFT2 are nearly 100% fatal.

Areas covered: We review DFT control approaches and propose a rabies-style oral bait vaccine (OBV) platform for DFTs. This approach has an extensive safety record and was a primary tool in large-scale rabies virus elimination from wild carnivores across diverse landscapes. Like rabies virus, DFTs are transmitted by oral contact, so immunizing the oral cavity and stimulating resident memory cells could be advantageous. Additionally, exposing infected devils that already have tumors to OBVs could serve as an oncolytic virus immunotherapy. The primary challenges may be identifying appropriate DFT-specific antigens and optimization of field delivery methods.

Expert opinion: DFT2 is currently found on a peninsula in southern Tasmania, so an OBV that could eliminate DFT2 should be the priority for this vaccine approach. Translation of an OBV approach to control DFTs will be challenging, but the approach is feasible for combatting ongoing and future disease threats.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:oral bait vaccine, Tasmanian devil, facial tumour disease, immunology, virus, viral vector, adenovirus, rabies, devil, allograft, conservation immunology, neoantigen, transmissible tumor, wild immunology
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal immunology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Flies, AS (Dr Andy Flies)
UTAS Author:Flies, EJ (Dr Emily Flies)
UTAS Author:Liu, G-S (Associate Professor Guei-Sheung Liu)
UTAS Author:Lyons, AB (Associate Professor Bruce Lyons)
UTAS Author:Patchett, AL (Dr Amanda Patchett)
UTAS Author:Pye, RJ (Ms Ruth Pye)
ID Code:136979
Year Published:2020
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DE180100484)
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2020-01-24
Last Modified:2022-08-25
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