Friday, 2 April 2021

Malevolent Designer News - How 1 in 4 Adult Sea Lions Get Cervical Cancer

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Californian Sea Lion, Zalophus californianus
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Californian Sea Lion, Zalophus californianus
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Californian Sea Lion, Zalophus californianus
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Californian Sea Lion, Zalophus californianus
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Californian Sea Lion, Zalophus californianus
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Californian Sea Lion, Zalophus californianus
Herpesvirus Triggers Cervical Cancer Affecting Nearly 1 in 4 Adult Sea Lions, Parallels to Human Cancer Research - The Marine Mammal Center

Creationist mode:


The Intelligent designer has really pulled out the stops with this one!

It's only gone and designed a special virus to give sea lions cancer, and it's made it so it's sexually transmitted too!

According to researchers at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA, USA, the cause of the cancer that is killing so many Californian sea lions, is a herpesevirus that has infected 1 in 4 sea lions.

The cancer starts in the genital tract of the sea lion then rapidly spreads throughout the internal organs. Sea lions that wash up on California's beaches suffering from the disease are normally in the terminal stages and so have to be euthanised humanely to prevent further suffering.

Mind you, clever and mendacious though it is, the intelligent designer needed a bit of help from humans with this one, albeit unwitting help. The problem appears to be exacerbated by man-made pollution with nasty chemicals like DDT and PCB. A lot of DDT was dumped in the sea around Southern California, which is one of the main habitats for these sea lions. DDT, especially, was once widely used as a general insecticide but proved to be extremely harmful to a multitude of species and was banned in most countries. However, it is very stable and stays in the environment for tens or even hundreds of years, being ingested, concentrated up the food chain, at the top of which sit species such as the sea lion, and put back into the environment when the animal dies, to be ingested again and recycled.

Nevertheless, the herpes virus was a brilliant masterstroke that really causes suffering, especially after the sea lions have been sexually active, so the sea lion's (geddit?!) share of the credit has to go to the malevolent designer of this nasty little virus!

The Marine Mammal Center news release tells the story:
Herpesvirus Triggers Cervical Cancer Affecting Nearly 1 in 4 Adult Sea Lions, Parallels to Human Cancer Research

Sea Lions Are Critical Model for Understanding How Cancer Develops, says The Marine Mammal Center and University of Florida in a Study Supported by Federal and Foundation Funding


Sausalito, Calif. (March 30, 2021) - After more than three decades of research, scientists have proven that the cancer affecting up to one in four adult California sea lions necrospied at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA, is caused by a sexually transmitted herpesvirus. The cancer, known as sea lion urogenital carcinoma, has clear parallels to cervical cancer in humans and provides a helpful model for human cancer study.

Scientists have long suspected this cancer was associated with a virus, but this is the first study to prove this theory. The study, which was published in Animals, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal, concluded that genital herpesvirus is a driving factor in the development of sea lion urogenital carcinoma. The research also suggests there is an underlying trigger or event that causes the virus to induce cancer in some infected sea lions and not others. Wild California sea lions have among the highest prevalence of a single type of cancer in any mammal, including humans.

The confirmation that this is a virally induced cancer combined with the knowledge that contaminants play a significant role in the cancer's development means that we can use these sea lions as a naturally occurring disease model to better understand how cancer develops and spreads in all species, including humans.

The cancer begins in the sea lion's genital tract and aggressively spreads throughout the sea lion's body, resulting in death, often from kidney failure. This cancer is devastating to see in California sea lions. They come to the hospital in end-stage disease.

Dr. Alissa Deming, Lead author
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
A second recently published paper (Sea lions are dying from a mysterious cancer. - Los Angeles Times, latimes.com) led by the same team showed that pollutants such as PCBs and DDT play a significant role as co-factors in the development of this cancer. This is particularly relevant to Southern California where there is a large DDT dumpsite in the Southern California bight which is also where the majority of the sea lion population gather each year to give birth and raise their pups (How the waters off Catalina became a DDT dumping ground - Los Angeles Times, latimes.com).

"The confirmation that this is a virally induced cancer combined with the knowledge that contaminants play a significant role in the cancer's development means that we can use these sea lions as a naturally occurring disease model to better understand how cancer develops and spreads in all species, including humans," says Dr. Alissa Deming, the lead author of the study who completed this work during her Ph.D. studies at University of Florida in Gainesville, FL., while she was a Research Fellow at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA. (Dr. Deming is now Director of Clinical Medicine at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, CA.)

This research is critical as these sea lions may hold the key to understanding virally induced cancers as well as how cancer metastasizes, or spreads through the body. This knowledge is an important link that could help scientists better understand various cancers in people.

Dr. Pádraig Duignan, Co-author
Director of Pathology
The Marine Mammal Center
The Marine Mammal Center is the world's largest marine mammal hospital and has been on the forefront of researching and understanding cancer in California sea lions and its connection to both ocean and human health. Since cancer in sea lions was first discovered in 1979, researchers have found that between 18-23 percent of adult sea lions admitted to the Center's hospital have died of the fatal disease. In 2010, the Center brought together an array of international researchers to form the Sea Lion Cancer Consortium to further investigate this disease, many of whom helped co-author the paper.

"This research is critical as these sea lions may hold the key to understanding virally induced cancers as well as how cancer metastasizes, or spreads through the body," says Dr. Pádraig Duignan, Director of Pathology at The Marine Mammal Center and a co-author on the study. "This knowledge is an important link that could help scientists better understand various cancers in people." Most cancers are caused by an accumulation of several factors, making it challenging to study cancer in traditional laboratory models. However, wild sea lions experience multiple layers of stressors including infectious agents, exposure to pollutants, nutrition, and environmental influences, all of which are much more representative of how cancer develops in the "real world."

Our study was the first time that this revolutionary technique has been used on a marine mammal species. This proved that the virus was integral to cancer development and was not just being detected in the reproductive tracts or tissue as a bystander.

Dr. Kathleen Colegrove, Co-author
Clinical Professor of the Zoological Pathology Program
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Brookfield, IL, USA
According to Duignan, "the cancer begins in the sea lion's genital tract and aggressively spreads throughout the sea lion's body, resulting in death, often from kidney failure." Because of the advanced state of cancer by the time these patients strand on beaches and are rescued by rehabilitation centers, euthanasia is the only humane option. "This cancer is devastating to see in California sea lions. They come to the hospital in end-stage disease," says Dr. Deming.

The paper was the result of an international, cross-discipline effort, combining multiple techniques from a variety of specialists to unlock the mysteries of this disease. The research relied on novel techniques using RNAscope® Technology and Base Scope™, tools that allow researchers to pinpoint high viral gene expression within tumor tissue but not in surrounding healthy tissue.

"Our study was the first time that this revolutionary technique has been used on a marine mammal species," says Dr. Kathleen Colegrove, Clinical Professor of the Zoological Pathology Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and a key researcher on the study. "This proved that the virus was integral to cancer development and was not just being detected in the reproductive tracts or tissue as a bystander."

Creationist mode:


Back to the real world now - the world that doesn't run on magic and fairy tales, and have a malevolent designer in the sky making nasty things happen like some children imagine, but where diseases like cancer and the viruses that can cause them are the result of natural processes, not as Creationists seem to prefer, an explanation that leaves their favourite deity sounding like someone with anger issues who should be kept under lock and key, away from decent people.

In this world, scientists do research and find out things that keep refuting creationism without the slightest effort. For example, the Marine Mammal Centre team's paper, which was published open access a few days ago in the peer-reviewed journal Mammal:
Histology section of the edge of a urogenital carcinoma lesion in the cervix of a California sea lion with normal epithelium (left side of images) transitioning into cervical intraepithelial carcinoma (CIN; right side of images) with inflammation in the underlying submucosa. Series shows (A) H&E and (B–D) RISH (Basescope®) labeled tissue (B) OtHV1vEVE; (C) host housekeeping gene DNA-dependent RNA polymerase II RISH positive control; (D) negative control dihydrodipicolinate reductase of Bacillus subtilis). On the RISH labeled tissues (B–D), pink dots represent positive hybridization signaling.

Simple Summary


Wild California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) have a high prevalence of urogenital carcinoma. The cancer starts in the sea lion’s genital tract then spreads aggressively to other organs resulting in death. Previous research has identified a herpesvirus, otarine herpesvirus 1 (OtHV1), in the genital tract of most sea lions with urogenital carcinoma, however, this virus has also been found in the genital tracts of sea lions without cancer making its role in urogenital carcinoma ambiguous. Here, tissues from 95 sea lions with and 163 without cancer were tested for OtHV1, the amount of virus was quantified, and viral gene expression was measured. OtHV1 was found in 100% of the sea lions with urogenital carcinoma and there were exceptionally high viral loads and viral gene expression within the genital tumors. Of the sea lions that did not have cancer, 36% tested positive for herpesvirus and they had much lower viral load and no detectable viral gene expression, indicating the herpesvirus was dormant. These findings support that genital herpesvirus plays an integral role in sea lion urogenital carcinoma and suggests there is an underlying trigger or event that causes the virus to induce cancer in some infected sea lions and not others.

Abstract


Urogenital carcinoma in California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) is the most common cancer of marine mammals. Primary tumors occur in the cervix, vagina, penis, or prepuce and aggressively metastasize resulting in death. This cancer has been strongly associated with a sexually transmitted herpesvirus, otarine herpesvirus 1 (OtHV1), but the virus has been detected in genital tracts of sea lions without cancer and a causative link has not been established. To determine if OtHV1 has a role in causing urogenital carcinoma we sequenced the viral genome, quantified viral load from cervical tissue from sea lions with (n = 95) and without (n = 163) urogenital carcinoma, and measured viral mRNA expression using in situ mRNA hybridization (Basescope®) to quantify and identify the location of OtHV1 mRNA expression. Of the 95 sea lions diagnosed with urogenital carcinoma, 100% were qPCR positive for OtHV1, and 36% of the sea lions with a normal cervix were positive for the virus. The non-cancer OtHV1 positive cases had significantly lower viral loads in their cervix compared to the cervices from sea lions with urogenital carcinoma. The OtHV1 genome had several genes similar to the known oncogenes, and RNA in situ hybridization demonstrated high OtHV1 mRNA expression within the carcinoma lesions but not in normal cervical epithelium. The high viral loads, high mRNA expression of OtHV1 in the cervical tumors, and the presence of suspected OtHV1 oncogenes support the hypothesis that OtHV1 plays a significant role in the development of sea lion urogenital carcinoma.

Deming, Alissa C.; Wellehan, James F. X.; Colegrove, Kathleen M.; Hall, Ailsa; Luff, Jennifer; Lowenstine, Linda; Duignan, Pádraig; Cortés-Hinojosa, Galaxia; Gulland, Frances M. D.
Unlocking the Role of a Genital Herpesvirus, Otarine Herpesvirus 1, in California Sea Lion Cervical Cancer
Animals
2021, 11(2), 491; doi: 10.3390/ani11020491

Copyright: © 2021 The authors. Published by MDPI
Open access Reprinted under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0)
And I'm still waiting for a Creationist to explain why they reject the only explanation for thigs like this that doesn't leave their favourite deity, whom they always equate with the supposedly all-loving god of the Bible or Qur'an, looking like a malevolent, sadist who enjoys watching its creation suffer and who is continually design new ways to ensure it does - evolution, by an amoral, undirected natural process operating under nothing more sinister and mendacious than the mindless laws of chemistry and physics.


Thank you for sharing!









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