Our latest publication compared key immune checkpointmolecules in nine different species ranging from humans to mice to bats to Tasmanian devils. Despite the last common ancestor of marsupial and placental animals occurring 162,000,000 years ago, we found a remarkable level of similarity in key regions for these critical immune molecules. This suggests that some immunotherapy or vaccine approaches that work in humans might also work in Tasmanian devils!
Comparative Analysis of Immune Checkpoint Molecules and Their Potential Role in the Transmissible Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumor Disease
This is a technical and jargon-rich manuscript, but has the most interesting immunological insight of any Wild Immunity paper to date!
A new research paper shows evidence that immunization with devil facial tumor cells plus adjuvants (i.e. immune stimulators) primes anti-tumor immune responses. Subsequent booster shots with live tumor cells induced tumor regressions in 3/5 devils.
This new publication shows that the key immune checkpoint molecule PD-L1 (aka B7-H1) is upregulated on devil facial tumour cells in response to interferon-gamma (IFNg). This could be an important immune evasion mechanism used by the tumour to shut off anti-tumour responses by T cells and NK cells.
Wild Immunity research published in Functional Ecology is featured in Smithsonian magazine.