Tasmanian devil disease reveals its secrets

Deadly cancer turns off genes, evading the immune system

By Tina Hesman Saey, 16:54 PM March 11, 2013

A contagious cancer decimating Tasmanian devils makes itself invisible to the animals’ immune systems, which might otherwise fight it off, a new study shows.

Devil facial tumor disease shuts down production of proteins that normally decorate the surface of cells, telling the body whether a cell is its own or not. As a result, the devil’s immune system doesn’t recognize cancer cells from another devil as a potentially worrisome invader, Hannah Siddle, a marsupial geneticist at the University...

Source URL: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/tasmanian-devil-disease-reveals-its-secrets