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Vaccine for devils on way
Adelaide Advertiser, Adelaide  10 May 2016
General News - Page 15 - 127 words - ID 590458321 - Photo: No - Type: News Item - Size: 60.00cm2

SCIENTISTS may hold the key to saving the last of Tasmania's endangered devils after a breakthrough in cancer research.

Dr Beata Ujvari, from Deakin University'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 in 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."

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