In DepthBiomedicine

Zebrafish larvae could help to personalize cancer treatments

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Science  25 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6353, pp. 745
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6353.745

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Doctors often use trial and error to determine which cancer treatment works best for a particular patient. A new study describes a technique that may make the choice more rational, which involves growing implanted human tumor cells in zebrafish larvae. Each fish became a minuscule model of a patient’s cancer—and a test bed for treatments. Similar cancer “avatars” have been created with mice, but the piscine approach may be faster and cheaper, making it accessible for more patients. The study shows that the fish can discriminate between effective and ineffective treatments, and that they could predict which patients with colorectal cancer would have relapses.