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Devil facial tumor 2 (DFT2) is a recently discovered contagious cancer circulating among Tasmanian devils, a species that has suffered drastic population decline due to an older, more widespread contagious cancer, devil facial tumor 1 (DFT1). The two cancers arose independently in different devil populations, but both are spread by direct transmission of tumor cells between individuals, usually via biting. The disease causes large and debilitating tumor growths around the face and neck. Researchers will determine how these unusual tumor cells are able to spread between individuals without triggering an effective immune response by infected devils. Understanding how DFT2 is evolving and spreading will provide important clues on how to manage this disease and other contagious cancers affecting both Tasmanian devils and dogs.

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University of Southampton
Study country
United Kingdom
Hannah V. Siddle, PhD
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