Navigation Links
Mystery solved: Facial cancer decimating Tasmanian devils likely began in Schwann cells
Date:12/31/2009

Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. An international team of scientists led by a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) investigator has discovered that the deadly facial tumors decimating Australia's Tasmanian devil population probably originated in Schwann cells, a type of tissue that cushions and protects nerve fibers.

The discovery stems from the team's effort to carry out a genetic analysis of tumor cells. Based on these data, the scientists have identified a genetic marker to accurately diagnose the facial cancers, called devil facial tumor disease (DFTD).

The findings, which open new avenues for research into treatments and vaccines, will appear in the journal Science on January 1. Elizabeth Murchison, Ph.D., of CSHL and the Australian National University, is lead author of the paper; the work was conducted with CSHL Professor and HHMI Investigator Greg Hannon, Ph.D., among others.

DFTD is a unique type of cancer that is transmitted from animal to animal via biting or other physical contact one of only two cancers known to spread by this method, which transfers living cancer cells between individuals (the other cancer is found in dogs). The devils' tumors are mostly found on the face and mouth, but often spread to internal organs. With no diagnostic tests, treatments or vaccines currently available, this aggressive disease could wipe out the Tasmanian devil species in 25 to 35 years.

"Our findings represent a big step forward in the race to save the devils from extinction," says Murchison. The research has provided a method for scientists to distinguish between DFTD and other types of devil cancers. This could be critical in efforts to identify and isolate affected animals and contain the disease's spread.

The team's genetic analysis has confirmed that the tumors that spread from animal to animal are genetically identical exact clonal copies, each having originated from a single line of cells. The team determined the identity of the originating cell by using advanced sequencing technology to uncover the tumors' "transcriptome" the complete set of genes that are turned on in tumor cells. Comparing this readout to that from other tissues, the team found that the tumors' genetic signature best matched that of Schwann cells. How these nervous system cells spawned cancer is still a mystery.

"Now that we've taken a good look at the tumors' genetic profile, we can start hunting for genes and pathways involved in tumor formation," says Hannon. The team has also compiled a catalogue of devil genes that might influence the pathology and transmission of the tumor -- information that will be very useful in designing vaccines and other therapeutic strategies.


'/>"/>

Contact: Hema Bashyam
bashyam@cshl.edu
516-367-6822
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Mystery of golden ratio explained
2. Scripps Research scientists crack mystery of proteins dual function
3. Introns: A mystery renewed
4. Scientists are first to unlock the mystery of creating cultured pearls from the queen conch
5. Mystery solved: Marine microbe is source of rare nutrient
6. Baylor researchers unravel mystery of DNA conformation
7. Mystery E. coli genes essential for survival of many species
8. Mystery of bat with an extraordinary nose solved
9. Harvard scientists solve mystery about why HIV patients are more susceptible to TB infection
10. Scientists tackle the mystery of white-nose syndrome in bats
11. Scientists unravel the mystery of white-nose syndrome
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin ... its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and ... Gino Pereira ... look forward to their guidance and benefiting from their considerable ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017 Today HYPR ... that the server component of the HYPR platform is ... providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric authentication ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million users across ... manufacturers of connected home product suites and physical access ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... April 3, 2017  Data captured by ... platform, detected a statistically significant association between ... to treatment and objective response of cancer ... to predict whether cancer patients will respond ... as well as to improve both pre-infusion potency ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... A recent survey conducted by ... and difficult to control weed in 12 categories of broadleaf crops, fruits and vegetables, ... scientists across the U.S. and Canada participated in the 2016 survey, the second conducted ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... 2017 in San Diego, California, this August will feature high-level speakers on ... autonomous vehicles. , SPIE Optics and Photonics, the largest multidisciplinary optical sciences meeting ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... San Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... extracellular matrix of polymeric molecules, can cause diverse pathologies ranging from food poisoning and ... economic impact of biofilms is in the tens of billions of dollars per year, ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Baltimore biotech firm, PathSensors, announced that its ... developing and issuing recommendations to grow Maryland's biohealth industry and position the state ... , The recommendations are contained in a report from the Maryland ...
Breaking Biology Technology: