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Article Released Wed-24th-June-2009 17:17 GMT
Contact: Ruth Institution: Nature Publishing Group
 Press Release - Cancer threatens conservation of wildlife

Accumulating evidence indicates that population levels of certain animal species, such as the beluga whale and the Tasmanian devil, are being affected by cancer.

PRESS RELEASE FROM NATURE REVIEWS CANCER
(http://www.nature.com/nrc)

VOL.9 NO.6 DATED JUNE 2009

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Cancer threatens conservation of wildlife
DOI: 10.1038/nrc2665

Accumulating evidence indicates that population levels of certain animal species, such as the beluga whale and the Tasmanian devil, are being affected by cancer. In a Science and Society article in Nature Reviews Cancer, Denise McAloose and Alisa Newton discuss the causes of cancer in wildlife and the implications for their conservation.

Cancer accounts for around 20 per cent of human deaths but it is not thought to threaten the existence of our species; it also seems to cause around 20 per cent of deaths in some wildlife species and can also be caused by environmental carcinogens and viruses. In addition, wildlife also suffer from cancers rarely evident in humans, such as allograft tumours, which arise as a result of contact and transmission of a tumour cell.

The authors argue that conservation systems that more accurately monitor wildlife mortality could reveal further effects on population levels. In the future, cancer might also affect populations of sea turtle, other whale species, dolphin, sea lion and numerous types of fish. They believe that we need to understand more about how cancer arises in wildlife to ensure their conservation and hopefully such information will also improve our understanding of cancer in humans.

Author contact:
Denise McAloose (Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, US)
Tel: +1 718 220 7105; E-mail: dmcaloose@wcs.org

Editorial contact:
Gemma Alderton (Senior Editor, Nature Reviews Cancer, London, UK)
Tel: +44 20 7843 3611; E-mail: g.alderton@nature.com

Media contacts:
Jen Middleton (Press Officer, Nature London, UK)
Tel: +44 20 7843 4502; E-mail: j.middleton@nature.com

Ruth Francis (Head of Press, Nature London, UK)
Tel: +44 20 7843 4562; E-mail: r.francis@nature.com

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