Saving the Devil: 454 Sequencing Study Uncovers Likely Culprit in Tasmanian Devil Transmissible Cancer  
1/7/2010 9:16:38 AM

BRANFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A study published in the journal, Science, reports that an international team of scientists has identified cells in the nervous system, called Schwann cells, to be the possible cause of the facial tumor disease which is decimating Australia’s Tasmanian devil population. Schwann cells make up a type of tissue that cushions and protects nerve fibers but, until now, had no known association with the cancer. The discovery stems from the team’s efforts to fully characterize the genes in Tasmanian devil tumor cells using transcriptome sequencing with the Genome Sequencer FLX System from 454 Life Sciences, a Roche Company (SWX:RO) (SWX:ROG) (Pink Sheets: RHHBY). The findings may indicate new avenues for research to develop future diagnostic tools and treatments for this devastating disease.