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Tassie devil tumour vaccine study hope
Herald Sun, Melbourne  by Erin Pearson
10 May 2016
General News - Page 13 - 153 words - ID 590441307 - Photo: No - Type: News Item - Size: 77.00cm2

DEAKIN University researchers may hold the key to saving Tasmania's endangered devils after a breakthrough in cancer research.

Dr Beata Ujvari, from Deakin's Centre for Integrative Ecology, said research had found antibodies in the marsupial's immune system that might lead to the development of a vaccine for the animal's facial tumour disease.

The disease has devastated the Tasmanian devil population over the past 20 years.

"We know from human and animal studies that certain natural antibodies are able to recognise and kill cancerous cells, so we wanted to see whether the presence of these molecules would also determine tumour development in Tasmanian devils," Dr Ujvari said.

"We found devils that have a higher ratio of these natural antibodies were less likely to have cancer.

"Anti-tumour vaccines that enhance the production of these natural antibodies, or direct treatment of the cancer with natural antibodies, could become a solution to help halt this disease."

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