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The Tasmanian devil, an Australian carnivorous marsupial, is facing extinction within the next 20 to 30 years due to the devastating effects of devil facial tumor disease (DFTD). This highly unique form of cancer is passed from one devil to another through biting, a common behavior that takes place during feeding and mating. Currently there is no cure for or preventative against the disease. Researchers will use a specific form of stem-cell therapy to eradicate tumor cells from Tasmanian devils suffering from DFTD, which they anticipate will induce the devils' immune system to attack the tumor cells. This would result in killing existing tumors and would also provide immune protection against infection with future tumors.

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The University of Queensland
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Deanne J. Whitworth, BVSc, PhD
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