Tasmanian devils are in for some good news. Unfortunately, a rare, contagious facial cancer has devastated many wild populations of these striking animals. But researchers have developed a vaccine that could be a game-changer, and mice are partly to thank for it!
The vaccine works by making the cancer cells more visible to the animals’ immune systems. 19 Tasmanian devils that were bred in captivity have been vaccinated, and they are scheduled to be released into the wild in September. By tracking these animals via microchip, researchers hope that they will be able to determine if the wild population can rebound with help from these vaccinated animals.
To develop this vaccine, researchers worked with mice in the laboratory. We wrote about the work to develop the vaccine in an earlier post, which you can read here. Hopefully, this research in the laboratory will be able to help scientists save animals in the wild.