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A devil of a transmissible cancer


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Woods, GM ORCID: 0000-0001-8421-7917, Lyons, AB ORCID: 0000-0002-8508-5853 and Bettiol, SS ORCID: 0000-0002-4355-4498 2020 , 'A devil of a transmissible cancer' , Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease, vol. 5, no. 2 , pp. 1-10 , doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed5020050.

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Devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) encompasses two independent transmissible cancers that have killed the majority of Tasmanian devils. The cancer cells are derived from Schwann cells and are spread between devils during biting, a common behavior during the mating season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a parasite as "An organism that lives on or in a host organism and gets its food from, or at, the expense of its host." Most cancers, including DFTD, live within a host organism and derive resources from its host, and consequently have parasitic-like features. Devil facial tumor disease is a transmissible cancer and, therefore, DFTD shares one additional feature common to most parasites. Through direct contact between devils, DFTD has spread throughout the devil population. However, unlike many parasites, the DFTD cancer cells have a simple lifecycle and do not have either independent, vector-borne, or quiescent phases. To facilitate a description of devil facial tumor disease, this review uses life cycles of parasites as an analogy.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Woods, GM and Lyons, AB and Bettiol, SS
Keywords: DFTD, MHC, devil facial tumor disease, immune escape, parasite, transmissible cancer
Journal or Publication Title: Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
Publisher: M D P I AG
ISSN: 2414-6366
DOI / ID Number: 10.3390/tropicalmed5020050
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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