Upon hearing the name & # 39; demon of Tasmania & # 39 ;, Surely comes the funny cartoon character, & # 39; Taz & # 39 ;, and his peculiar way of speaking. However, this character is based on an animal that is so peculiar and with the possibility of saving humans.
Native of the island of Tasmania, in Oceania This marsupial the size of a small dog, with a broad head, thick tail and black hair, owes its name to the terrifying screech that they emit at night and which the European settlers confuse with a demon.
Although "demons" can be found throughout Australia, its population has been reduced to only one wild population on the island of Tasmania. Although protected, this population has been greatly affected by a rare contagious tumor, which affects the face and passes into the rest of the body, causing them to die.
This tumor was detected in 1996 and so far has killed 80% of the species, suggesting that it could eventually extinguish the Tasmanian devil, not that, oddly enough, some of them have the ability to resist the disease. and be completely immune.
These few specimens end up infecting the tumor, but in time they survive and heal like a cold, a fact that drew the attention of a team of scientists at the University of Washington.
& Quot; TAZ & # 39; to the rescue
In 2016, the team of scientists published a to study described the procedures that are being performed with these marsupials. Recently, the study was updated with analyzes of the genetic causes of this resistance.
Although contagious tumors are very rare and there are none in humans, this does not mean that their study can not be beneficial to us. According to the research, some of the genes that appear to be involved in regression of the Australian devil's tumor are common in humans.
This means that in the future, studies on these can lead to the development of drugs that help fight other types of tumors, such as cancer, reports Hypertext.
But that is not all. The milk of this animal also has much to teach the scientific community for its properties against superbugs, one of the bitterest battles of the human being.
The resistance that several bacteria are developing against antibiotics is a constant problem and keeps the scientific community on the alert. For this reason, it is vital to find new methods to fight against them.
In the search for new bactericidal substances, scientists included plants and animals, and Tasmanian dairy milk is one of those substances with a promising future. This application of the marsupial was 2016 by a team of researchers at the University of Sydney, analyzing some peptides present in the milk of the marsupial.
Milk peptides are sets of amino acids present in the milk of all mammals, with a very uneven distribution. For example, human milk contains only one, while the milk of these animals may have up to six.
After discovering its bactericidal potential, the scientists were able to synthesize the peptides in the laboratory and found that they gave good results against the multiresistant Staphylococcus aureus, superbugeria par excellence and also vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus.