Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

Trial shows promise for facial tumour cure
Lead author Dr Cesar Tovar said the findings confirm it is possible to trigger the devil’s immune system to recognise and destroy DFTD tumours.
Immunotherapy shrank tumours in Tasmanian devils

Scientists say they have had a ‘eureka’ moment in using immunotherapy to cure Tasmanian devils of the deadly devil facial tumour disease (DFTD).

Led by the University of Tasmania, an international research team used immunotherapy on devils with golf-ball-sized tumours and observed the tumours shrinking and disappearing over a period of three months.

“This is almost a eureka moment for us because it’s the first time we can say for sure that it was the immunotherapy that was making the tumour shrink,” said Professor Greg Woods, who led the team at the university’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research.

Lead author Dr Cesar Tovar added that the findings confirm it is possible to trigger the devil’s immune system to recognise and destroy DFTD tumours.

“Our research shows that a DFTD vaccine is feasible. We are focusing our efforts on developing strategies to improve the devils’ response to immunisation.”

The breakthrough is the next step on from research published in 2015, which revealed the devil’s immune system was capable of mounting an immune response to DFTD.

“This is an important step along the way to developing a vaccine to protect against DFTD and potentially to cure devils of established DFTD,” Prof Woods added.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

New DNA testing scheme for the Russian black terrier

News Story 1
 A new DNA testing scheme for juvenile laryngeal paralysis and polyneuropathy (JLPP) in the Russian black terrier has been approved by The Kennel Club.

JLPP is a genetic disease that affects the nerves. In affected dogs, it starts with the nerve that supplies the muscles of the larynx leading to muscle weakness and laryngeal paralysis.

To find out which laboratories the Kennel Club is able to record results from, and which labs will send results direct to the Kennel Club, visit


News Shorts
Feline art marks 90 years of Cats Protection

Sussex-based charity Cats Protection is hosting a prestigious art exhibition to mark its 90th anniversary.

More than 200 paintings provided by members of the Society of Feline Artists will go on show at the charity's National Cat Centre in Chelwood Gate (28 April - 7 May).

"Art enthusiasts, students and cat lovers alike will all enjoy the exhibition, and we hope it will also inspire some of our younger visitors to get sketching," said Cats Protection's director of fundraising, Lewis Coghlin.