Cancer metastasis is the major cause of death in cancer patients. Current therapeutic approaches emphasize the development of novel preclinical models to test chemical agents against metastasis. While immunopermissive murine models offer a valuable tool to study cancer metastasis, the associated costs of maintenance and high throughput screening make them not feasible. In contrast, the comparatively reduced size, large breeding capacity and shorter life span make the zebrafish a preferable tool. Moreover, the optical clarity of zebrafish embryos, the availability of pigment deficient zebrafish and the amenability to transplantation assays render the zebrafish one of the most versatile animal models for cancer research. Therefore, the main focus of the lab is to establish zebrafish xenograft model.
To this aim, we used Casper, an optically transparent zebrafish mutant for xenotransplantation. Recently, we established the embryonic zebrafish xenograft model, characterized it, and observed the recapitulation of xenograft-associated tumorigenicity. We are further investigating the model for potential therapeutic intervention. Our studies will also focus on unraveling the cross-communication between the host zebrafish and human tumor ligands in order to understand their interactions in vivo.
Participating group members: