Xenotransplantation in zebrafish as a human tumour model
Relevant human tumour models are needed more than ever to accelerate the translation of basic cancer research to the clinic. In collaboration with pediatric oncologist Dr. Jason Berman (Dept. of Pediatrics, Dalhousie University and IWK Hospital, Halifax) we have been developing the novel human tumour animal model based on the xenotransplantation of human tumour cells in the zebrafish embryo.
Current applications of this tumour model include:
- The study of chemotherapy resistance in breast cancer
(Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Atlantic)
- The study of tumour metastasis in pediatric sarcomas
- Drug screening for novel chemotherapeutics targeting leukemia
(CIHR/NSERC Collaborative Health Research Program)
Xenotransplantation of human leukemia cells in the transgenic “Fli-GFP” zebrafish embryo
Twenty four hour post fertilization Fli-GFP transgenic zebrafish embryos expressing the green fluorescent protein to highlight their blood vessels were microinjected with 50 leukemia cells (labeled in red) within the yolk sac (white arrow). A zebrafish embryo is shown by phase contrast (top panel) and fluorescence microscopy (bottom panel) at 24 hours post-injection. Red fluorescent masses of leukemia cells can be seen in the tail and head of the embryo indicating that the leukemia cells can enter the blood stream and migrate via the vasculature to distant sites from the injection site.