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A devil of a transmissible cancer


Woods, GM and Lyons, AB and Bettiol, SS, A devil of a transmissible cancer, Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease, 5, (2) Article 50. ISSN 2414-6366 (2020) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.3390/tropicalmed5020050


Devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) encompasses two independent transmissible cancers that have killed the majority of Tasmanian devils. The cancer cells are derived from Schwann cells and are spread between devils during biting, a common behavior during the mating season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a parasite as "An organism that lives on or in a host organism and gets its food from, or at, the expense of its host." Most cancers, including DFTD, live within a host organism and derive resources from its host, and consequently have parasitic-like features. Devil facial tumor disease is a transmissible cancer and, therefore, DFTD shares one additional feature common to most parasites. Through direct contact between devils, DFTD has spread throughout the devil population. However, unlike many parasites, the DFTD cancer cells have a simple lifecycle and do not have either independent, vector-borne, or quiescent phases. To facilitate a description of devil facial tumor disease, this review uses life cycles of parasites as an analogy.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:DFTD, MHC, devil facial tumor disease, immune escape, parasite, transmissible cancer
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Veterinary sciences
Research Field:Veterinary immunology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Woods, GM (Professor Gregory Woods)
UTAS Author:Lyons, AB (Associate Professor Bruce Lyons)
UTAS Author:Bettiol, SS (Dr Silvana Bettiol)
ID Code:138407
Year Published:2020
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP180100520)
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2020-04-06
Last Modified:2021-03-22
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