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Little ‘Jock’ new star of appeal to fund further devil research

The University’s Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal is seeking generous donors to enable the next crucial step in research to help secure the future for the Tasmanian devil.

The engaging appeal features an image of ‘Jock’, a young devil whose mother died from Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) – the disease that has wiped out well over 80 per cent of the wild devil population in Tasmania.

The image of the four-month old orphan was captured by Houndstooth Studio’s Alex Cearns OAM when she visited Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary which had rescued this plucky devil.

Thanks to ground-breaking research, there has already been remarkable progress in the fight against DFTD, with the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research developing and trialing a vaccine that has resulted in 95 per cent of devils vaccinated developing an immune response against DFTD.

This is the first step in a long process and the research team is now focusing its attention on a single-shot vaccination to replace the current four dosages, administered monthly.

But there is still much research to be done so the DFTD cancer cells aren’t able to fight back and grow into tumours in these already immunised devils, according to Associate Professor Bruce Lyons, head of the devil research team.

“We have recently discovered new ways of stimulating devil immune cells to kill devil facial tumour cells in the lab and we are now working to combine these new findings, translating to improved immunotherapies and vaccines to fully protect devils against DFTD.”

To enable this research to continue please contribute to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal

Published on: 05 Jul 2019 12:44pm