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Tasmanian devil populations have plummeted in the last 20 years due to the emergence of two contagious facial cancers that arose independently from each other. Researchers are racing to find effective treatments or preventions to slow or stop these cancers in remaining animals. Studies show the two cancers, called devil facial tumor 1 and devil facial tumor 2, have similar cellular origins. Researchers will investigate the expression of cell surface protein markers found on facial tumor cancer cells. Proteins that are unique to the cancers will be evaluated as potential vaccine targets that could help stimulate a protective immune response in affected Tasmanian devils. Findings will help inform vaccine design to help save this species.

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University of Southampton
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United Kingdom
Rachel Owen, BSc
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