Tasmanian devils threatened by contagious skin cancer
Posted Jan 25 2009 4:59pm
The cancer is spread from one to another with bites and other contact. This is the first story I have encountered with “cancer” being contagious, but again this is a short break from all the human research and development programs I usually post. If anyone wants chime in here and has any other knowledge on any types of contagious cancer, it would certainly be welcomed. Genetic studies are also underway to see what can be done, but meanwhile the Fox seems to be taking over and it does seem puzzling how the cancer only seems to spread so fast with the “devil” and not other breeds of animals. BD
AP) -- Tasmania is trying to save the devil. The Tasmanian devil, a ferocious, snarling fox-sized marsupial, is in danger of going extinct because of a contagious facial cancer. In the meantime, its biggest rival - the European fox - is thriving, and may become so dominant that the devil never comes back.
Scientists had hoped to find a genetic solution to the disease through Cedric, a young devil who showed signs of natural immunity in laboratory tests. But last month Cedric contracted a second, mutated strain of the cancer.
Warner Bros., which owns Taz, and CNN founder Ted Turner, who started the Cartoon Network, are helping the Australian and Tasmanian governments bankroll the fight against the disease.