Facial Cancer Drives Tasmanian Devils to Brink of Extinction
Last updated at 17:00 08 October 2007
The Tasmanian Devil could be wiped out in 20 years because it is unable to survive facial cancer.A lack of genetic diversity among the animals means it has failed to launch an immune defence response to the cancer decimating populations, Australian researchers say.
The facial cancer produces large tumours on the face and neck of the Tasmanian Devil, found only on the southern Australian island state of Tasmania, which interfere with feeding. Death usually occurs within six months.
The Tasmanian Devil is a carnivorous marsupial about the size of a small muscular dog. It has black fur, gives off a skunk-like odour when stressed, and earns its name for its ferocious temperment and disturbing call.
Endangered? - The illness produces large tumours on the animal's face and neck
"We found that the Devils do not mount an immune response against the tumour," said Katherine Belov from Sydney University's School of Veterinary Science.
"Essentially, there are no natural barriers to the spread of the disease, so affected individuals must be removed from populations to stop disease transmission," said Belov.
"Loss of genetic diversity in these genes just opens the door for emergence and rapid spread of new and old disease," Belov said in a statement on the Tasmanian Devil research.
The study also found that the facial cancer was genetically identical in every animal and had originated from a single contagious cell line, spread throughout the population by biting during fights for food and mates.
The Tasmanian Devil is found on the southern Australian island of Tasmania
The Tasmanian Devil faces extinction in 10 to 20 years due to the facial cancer, the report said. The research by Sydney University, the University of Tasmania, the Australian Museum and the Tasmanian government was published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Satan, that old serpent, has bitten us and infected us with the cancer of rebellion against God. Jesus provides us the immunity we need to avoid death. He "milked" the Satan on the cross to produce the antivenom we need against Satan's bite: his body and blood are that antivenom. "To neutralize a sudden and large dose of venom requires maintaining a high level of circulating antibody (a hyperimmunized state), through repeated venom injections." Perhaps this is why we need to regularly receive Eucharist: the elements are not just symbols, but repeated "venom injections."
Natural and Required Immunity (from Wikipedia)
Although individuals can vary in their physiopathological response and sensitivity to animal venoms, there is no natural immunity to them in humans. It is quite possible to immunize a person directly with small and graded doses of venom ...According to Greek history, King Mithridates did this in order to protect himself against attempts of poisoning, therefore this procedure is often called mithridatization. However, unlike a vaccination against disease which must only produce a latent immunity that can be roused in case of infection, to neutralize a sudden and large dose of venom requires maintaining a high level of circulating antibody (a hyperimmunized state), through repeated venom injections (typically every 21 days)..... Mithridatization has been tried with success in Australia and Brazil and total immunity has been achieved even to multiple bites of extremely venomous cobras and pit vipers. Starting in 1950, Bill Haast successfully immunized himself to the venoms of Cape, Indian and King cobras