A contagious form of cancer that can spread between dogs during mating has highlighted the extent to which dogs accompanied human travellers throughout our seafaring history. But the tumours also provide surprising insights into how cancers evolve by ‘stealing’ DNA from their host.
Transmissible cancers – cancers which can spread between individuals by the transfer of living cancer cells – are believed to arise extremely rarely in nature. One of the few known transmissible cancers causes facial tumours in Tasmanian devils, and is threatening this species with extinction. Today, scientists report the discovery of a second transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils.
David Sargan discusses the health implications of breeding the perfect pets.
A new model of fatal brain diseases is being developed in the fruit fly by a team led by Dr Raymond Bujdoso at the University of Cambridge, and could lead to a low cost, fast and efficient blood test to diagnose – and prevent possible transmission of – variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).
Potential outbreaks of diseases such as Ebola and Lassa fever may be more accurately predicted thanks to a new mathematical model developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge. This could in turn help inform public health messages to prevent outbreaks spreading more widely.
David Sargan (Department of Veterinary Medicine) discusses the health implications of breeding the perfect pets.