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Type: Journal article
Title: Demonstration of immune responses against devil facial tumour disease in wild Tasmanian devils
Author: Pye, R.
Hamede, R.
Siddle, H.
Caldwell, A.
Knowles, G.
Swift, K.
Kreiss, A.
Jones, M.
Lyons, A.
Woods, G.
Citation: Biology Letters, 2016; 12(10):20160553-1-20160553-5
Publisher: The Royal Society
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 1744-9561
Statement of
Ruth Pye, Rodrigo Hamede, Hannah V. Siddle, Alison Caldwell, Graeme W. Knowles, Kate Swift, Alexandre Kreiss, Menna E. Jones, A. Bruce Lyons, Gregory M. Woods
Abstract: Devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) is a recently emerged fatal transmissible cancer decimating the wild population of Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii). Biting transmits the cancer cells and the tumour develops in the new host as an allograft. The literature reports that immune escape mechanisms employed by DFTD inevitably result in host death. Here we present the first evidence that DFTD regression can occur and that wild devils can mount an immune response against the disease. Of the 52 devils tested, six had serum antibodies against DFTD cells and, in one case, prominent T lymphocyte infiltration in its tumour. Notably, four of the six devils with serum antibody had histories of DFTD regression. The novel demonstration of an immune response against DFTD in wild Tasmanian devils suggests that a proportion of wild devils can produce a protective immune response against naturally acquired DFTD. This has implications for tumour-host coevolution and vaccine development.
Keywords: Tasmanian devil; devil facial tumour disease; emerging infectious disease; immune response; transmissible cancer
Rights: © 2016 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
RMID: 0030062804
DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0553
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:Zoology publications

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