Aquatic animal health experts have suggested that dolphins could be an "ideal model" to study human cervical cancer and hope their findings could help to prevent the disease.
University of Florida (UF) veterinarians said at the annual meeting of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science that their findings are indicative of the close relationship between humans and dolphins.
"We discovered that dolphins get multiple infections of apillomaviruses, which are known to be linked with cervical cancer in women," said Hendrik Nollens, from UF's college of veterinary medicine.
There are approximately 100 types of human papillomaviruses and multiple-type infections of up to eight HPV types have been reported in humans, Mr Nollens added.
The presence of coinfections is believed to be one of the biggest risk factors for the development of cervical cancer in humans, although the researchers said there is no evidence that dolphins develop the disease.
Mr Nollens said that establishing why the animals are able to resist developing the illness could therefore prove key to future strategies for cancer prevention among humans.See all the latest jobs in Medical Devices