02 July 2019

The boy was dying. Zebrafish helped save his life



ZeClinics Strips

Sometimes, in some presentations, we say that zebrafish is not just a fish, it is HOPE. And there may be people who think that saying this is exaggerated. But the truth is that it is not.

This tiny fish can SAVE LIVES, which is what it has recently done at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute (@CHOP_Research).

A boy was dying. His lungs were waterlogged due to a complex and rare mutation. Thanks to an intense work in medical genetics it has been possible to identify the mutation causing the boy's illness, in which lymphatic vessels proliferate out of control and leak into the lungs and other organs; engineered the mutation into zebrafish; waited for the fish to develop a piscine version of the boy's disease; tested multiple drugs on the fish; found one that stopped the vessels' kudzu-like growth; and got permission from federal health officials to try it on their young patient.

And that in a model that does not even have lungs!

This is the power of the zebrafish: we share with it 80% of genes related to diseases. And it is that once, 400 million years ago, we were fishes.

For this reason, this is not just a fish, it is HOPE.

Read the paper in Nature Medicine here.


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