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'The Immortal Devil'

A paper recently published in Cell shows that the cancer plaguing Tasmanian devils started spreading about 15 years ago from one infected female devil, reports Scientific American's Katherine Harmon. The study shows that the disease spreads via live cancer cells, and the whole-genome sequence done by the researchers confirms that all the tumors currently afflicting the animals contain cells from the original devil, Harmon adds. In a statement, the paper's lead author, Elizabeth Murchison of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, called the original animal "the immortal devil."

"The researchers studied tumors from 104 tumors collected from Tasmanian devils from various locations on the island and found that there were separate geographic groups of cancer types — but that all of them contained cells from the original female," Harmon says. "More detailed genetic details could point the way to targeted cancer drugs. It might also suggest how the cancer is able to sneak past the immune system and start its explosive growth so quickly."

Further, an article in PLoS Genetics this week has more on the tumors' karyotypes.

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.