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See-Through Fish Help Cancer Research

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the slim-fish-body dept.

Biotech 112

Hugh Pickens writes "What is transparent, swims, and helps cure cancer? Caspar the friendly fish — a zebrafish bred with a see-through body to make studying disease processes easier for rapidly changing processes such as cancer, Zebrafish are genetically similar to humans in many ways and serve as good models for human biology and disease. In one experiment, researchers inserted a fluorescent melanoma tumor into the abdominal cavity of the transparent fish and by observing the fish under a microscope, they found that the cancer cells started spreading within five days and could actually see individual cells spreading. "The process by which a tumor goes from being localized to widespread and ultimately fatal is the most vexing problem that oncologists face," says Richard White, a clinical fellow in the Stem Cell Program at Children's Hospital Boston. "We don't know why cancer cells decide to move away from their primary site to other parts in the body." Researchers created the transparent fish, (photo) by mating two existing zebrafish breeds, one that lacked a reflective skin pigment and the other without black pigment. The offspring had only yellow skin pigment, essentially appearing clear."

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ew (-1, Troll)

daddyrief (910385) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329414)

that fish looks gross

Re:ew (3, Insightful)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329476)

I'd like to see how you look with a fluorescent tumour inserted into your abdominal cavity.

Re:ew (3, Funny)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330060)

I'd like to see how you look with a fluorescent tumour inserted into your abdominal cavity.

It would be ironic if they cured cancer, but they had to make you transparent first...

Re:ew (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22330788)

That's not ironic. That's just a side effect.

"Ask your health care professional about Cancex! This drug may also cause minor side effects, including dizziness, insomnia, constipation, transparency, and mild to moderate death."

Re:ew (3, Funny)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 6 years ago | (#22331720)

Being transparent would be pretty cool. You could eat loads of spinach, then loads of oranges, then beetroot and watch your insides impersonate a traffic light.

Re:ew (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336624)

That's not actually a picture of the fish with the tumor... those are just the internal organs of the fish.

Re:ew (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22329616)

>Zebrafish are genetically similar to humans in many ways

Yeah, yeah. That's what I kept telling the cops. They said, "'k, son, maybe so, but they're still underaged."

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here in court all week. Don't forget to tip your waiter, and don't eat the fish platter.

Re:ew (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22329736)

>> that fish looks gross

Just wait 'till it poops.

Re:ew (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 6 years ago | (#22332216)

At least you'd have some advanced warning!

Re:ew (1)

phillips321 (955784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22332356)

What's the difference between their creation(http://forumpix.co.uk/i.php?I=1202390041 [forumpix.co.uk] ) and this (http://forumpix.co.uk/i.php?I=1202390769 [forumpix.co.uk] )? Haven't they just re-invented the wheel?

Re:ew (1)

afedaken (263115) | more than 6 years ago | (#22334874)

The difference is that the glass catfish you linked to is a complete PITA to breed comparatively speaking, while the zebra fish engages in free (and prolific) love.

Re:ew (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336722)

Not to mention that zebrafish have a completely mapped genome [sanger.ac.uk] , which also makes it a much better candidate for a lot of studies.

here there be humor (3, Informative)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329806)

See people, we can create freakish nightmares of creation without even using genetic modification! Really, being afraid of the unnatural qualities of "Frankenfood" makes about as much sense as being afraid of "Boo-Berry" cereal.

Re:here there be humor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22329874)

makes about as much sense as being afraid of "Boo-Berry" cereal.
Obviously, you were never left alone with a box of that stuff as a child. I still need therapy for the things that box of cereal did to me!

Re:here there be humor (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330332)

See people, we can create freakish nightmares of creation without even using genetic modification! Really, being afraid of the unnatural qualities of "Frankenfood" makes about as much sense as being afraid of "Boo-Berry" cereal.

I have a deathly phobia of Boo-Berry cereal, you insensitive clod!

Re:here there be humor (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330520)

People should probably be more scared about what's added to their cereal than a little gene splicing.

I got a patent! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22329416)

Check it out here! [wikimedia.org] Microsoft will be pissed!

Re:I got a patent! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22329540)

Dear Sir,

I would like to license your patent for personal use.

Signed,
Every Man In The World

That's not a transparent fish... (5, Interesting)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329434)

THIS [google.com] is a transparent fish. I have five of these, and they never cease to amaze me.

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329608)

What's this? The "Corpse Fish"?

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22332322)

This is a "Blob-fish"

Blob fish [lumq.com]

No muscles, just gelantinous flesh so it can float just above the sea-bed without exerting any energy and eat anything that happens to float by.

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (2, Funny)

ezzthetic (976321) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329812)

That's not a transparent fish

It's a space station ...

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (5, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330102)

THIS is a transparent fish. I have five of these, and they never cease to amaze me.

They're pretty but having to wipe them down with Windex once a week is a pain. Oh, also they don't seem to live more than a week.

you call that a transparent fish? THIS ... (4, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22331030)

THIS is a transparent fish:

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22334466)

+1 Funny.

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (1)

cool_arrow (881921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330158)

when I saw the pic of the "transparent" fish I thought of your catfish which I've seen many times in tropical fish stores. So why not spend 1.69 and buy a few and avoid the lengthy process of breeding your own? Anyone?

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22330436)

Because fish breeding is the most action those guys are going to see? Besides, they're scientists. 'It's cool' is all the reason they need.

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (1)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330740)

Yes, but they can't patent fish they bought in the store. How on erth should they make $$$ of it :p

Sneaky marketing, not a breakthrough? (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22332146)

Quote: "We don't know why cancer cells decide to move away from their primary site to other parts in the body."

Someone thinking carefully expresses thoughts carefully. A careful-thinking person would never say "decide to", because that communicates the idea that the cancer cells are thinking.

So, maybe you are right. Maybe it's just fraud masquerading as science, sneaky marketing, not a breakthrough. Maybe they are just trying to sell their own brand of transparent fish.

Re:Sneaky marketing, not a breakthrough? (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22332272)

A careful-thinking person would never say "decide to", because that communicates the idea that the cancer cells are thinking.
They aren't the kind of thing you want to make an enemy of, and they really hate it when people anthropomorphise them.

Re:Sneaky marketing, not a breakthrough? (1)

lessthan (977374) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335504)

A careful-thinking person would never say "decide to", because that communicates the idea that the cancer cells are thinking.


That is a bit pedantic. The reason for the movement of the cells is unknown. "Decide to" is only a placeholder for the actual mechanism, which they are trying to discover. Anthropomorphism is a useful way to express that lack of knowledge. Only someone completely unfamiliar with the concept of cancer would leap to "Oh noes, teh cancer thinks!!"

The summary itself says that the zebra fish has strong parallels to our own immune system, perhaps the catfish is too different from us to be used.

Re:Sneaky marketing, not a breakthrough? (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335806)

Someone thinking carefully expresses thoughts carefully. A careful-thinking person would never say "decide to", because that communicates the idea that the cancer cells are thinking.
Who said anything about thinking? "Decision" is a word that is often used in cellular biology to describe cellular events in response to molecular mechanisms that don't involve thoughts. It's a simple, time saving term that is easy for the general public to understand and is not too technical. As this was not a technical report it's actually a good thing to make it generally accessible. If you use jargon, people without a background in what you're talking about often feel offended, like you're trying to make them feel dumb. It's stupid, but it's not anyone's fault.

Saying something like "we don't understand the signaling events, molecular cascades, or gene expression changes that cause cancer cells to metastisize" is less concise, easy to make a mistake saying, takes the focus off of the point, and will actually make the general audience care less.

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (1)

Lunar_Lamp (976812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22332006)

There is in fact quite a good reason. The zebra fish is a very commonly used organism when it comes to developmental biology and genetics (two of the major disciplines involved in 'basic' cancer research). Because so many advanced experiments have been done on it, the fish is well understood. There are assays, experimental models, and much other research that has already been done in the zebrafish. The catfish has the advantage of being transparent already, but comes second in favour to the zebrafish by nearly all other metrics.

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (1)

cool_arrow (881921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22334258)

Thank you Lunar_Lamp. Knew there had to be a reason.

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (1)

afedaken (263115) | more than 6 years ago | (#22334772)

There's also the advantages of ease of breeding. Zebrafish are extremely prolific, laying hundreds of eggs at a time, and reaching sexual maturity in as little as 90 days. For experiments requiring chordates, they're unmatched.

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22331486)

Also these species of transparent fishes [wikipedia.org] native of Antarctica. Harder to keep in a tank though.

Most research is done on the transparent embryos. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22331544)

"The embryos are large, robust, and transparent and develop externally to the mother, characteristics which all facilitate experimental manipulation and observation." wiki

no genetic modification necessary. the embryos were already transparent.

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22331968)

Disclaimer: I am serious here.

As any one eaten of these? How does it taste like?

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336924)

They're 2" long. If you taste it, you're doing it wrong. They aren't big enough to meaningfully get any taste from. You'd have to fillet something like 10 of them to get single bite.

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (1)

afedaken (263115) | more than 6 years ago | (#22334680)

WOO! At last, a chance to talk with FISH GEEKS. Are you afflicted with MTS, and if so, how far has it progressed?

(4) 10G
(1) 55G
(1) 30G
(1) 15G
(2) 2G
(1) 3G

Re:That's not a transparent fish... (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22335754)

2 10s and a 40 at home, a 10 at work. And when I enclose an office for myself at the house later this year, She Who Must Be Obeyed has given permission for a LARGE tank... I'm thinking close to 300 gallons for keeping NA Natives in. BTW - ever head over to www.monsterfishkeepers.com ?

Fish Firday. (2, Funny)

agent (7471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329470)

Something new to eat. Thank you Jesus!

Re:Fish Firday. (1)

tonyahn (859878) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329824)

I can just picture it now... "Here's the fish you ordered sir". "But wait, its an empty plate, I don't see the fish".

Royal Rainbow (2, Funny)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330058)

I can just picture it now... "Here's the fish you ordered sir". "But wait, its an empty plate, I don't see the fish".

Strange. The Emperor seems quite fond of the dish...

DIY see-through zebrafish (2, Funny)

the_kanzure (1100087) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329480)

1) Figure out the genes involved via a bioinformatics database [biodatabase.org] .
2) Order the genes - look up oligonucleotide synthesis companies, or DIY with the open source machine.
3) Download the biokit [sourceforge.net] for do-it-yourself genetic engineering.
4) ??? (tanks, supplies, tissue culture, obtaining zebra fish and feed ...) 5) See-through zebra fish.

Re:DIY see-through zebrafish (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22329512)

How can you possibly have a ??? step without a Profit! following it?

Re:DIY see-through zebrafish (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330072)

Not enough question marks. You always need four question marks before you can Profit!

Re:DIY see-through zebrafish (1)

gotzero (1177159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329792)

Until you realize you used the wrong algorithm and the get out of the tank and start walking around your basement...

making us invisible (2, Funny)

tonyahn (859878) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329482)

...now if they can only make us transparent also....

Re:making us invisible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22329666)

Then we are going to need transparent blood cells also.

so they are like niggers? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22329486)

they multiply until they fuck everything else up.

worthless fucking darkies.

When.. (3, Funny)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329632)

When do they breed see-through people, for the human studies?

Re:When.. (1)

s74ng3r (963541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330302)

Imagine how that would impact the pr0n business.

Re:When.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22330608)

...well, for one thing, they would no longer have to pull out for the money shot!

Re:When.. (1)

pev (2186) | more than 6 years ago | (#22332930)

When do they breed see-through people, for the human studies?

Don't you mean for the TSA?

They are? (4, Interesting)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329734)

Zebrafish are genetically similar to humans in many ways
You mean, in the same way that every other vertebrate is, or is there something special about these particular fish?

Re:They are? (3, Funny)

sonchat (819093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329968)

Zebrafish are genetically similar to humans in many ways
You mean, in the same way that every other vertebrate is, or is there something special about these particular fish?
Hucklebee is offended.

Re:They are? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22330078)

Zebrafish, the nematode C. Elegans, and fruitflies have each been model organisms for years for geneticists. It's just easier to hack the underlying biology when all the scientists are focusing on the same exact species.

Re:They are? (3, Informative)

eli pabst (948845) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330770)

Not in particular. There are a lot of conserved pathways and genes but not more than any other fish. They're nice because they're a more convenient model organism to use than mice or chimps. You can fit a lot more of them in a tank, they're relatively inexpensive, they have a short generation time, and they're more of less transparent so you can observe internal structures (particularly for developmental bio purposes) and use luminescent/colorimetric techniques with out having to do any dissections. So they do make a good model, in fact one of the genes involved in determining skin color in humans was recently identified using Zebrafish.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5055391 [npr.org]

Re:They are? (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22333276)

They also can regenerate their heart if it is damaged or a piece is taken off (I'm not sure how they discovered this) but scientists are trying to figure out what implications this could have for vertebrate regeneration. http://www.gofish.com/player.gfp?gfid=30-1193095 [gofish.com]

wrong database! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22329762)

No, you find the gene at http://zfin.org/ [zfin.org]

Yeah, and (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22329828)

In the future, see-through fish will torture and experiment on you! Hope it's painful too, you deserving SOBs.

Zebrafish International Resource Center (3, Interesting)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329846)

For other universities who happen to want to work with these fish, I recommend contacting Zoltán Varga [wikipedia.org] . He's a director at the Zebrafish International Resource Center [zebrafish.org] at the University of Oregon.

He also has a great family and we had dinner at his house a couple weeks ago, Zoltán making a tasty Thai soup. The best part about visiting is that his wife is French and they're always talking in various languages at the dinner table. For some reason when the dog is bad, they always chastise him in German.

Re:Zebrafish International Resource Center (2)

CodyRazor (1108681) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329936)

Any other personal details you can post on slashdot? Perhaps about their children? lol.

My favorite part is "..says Richard White, a clinical fellow in the Stem Cell Program.."

It sounds like they just walked in to the building and saw some guy in a lab coat and thought "Hey, theres a clinical looking fellow! lets ask him what he thinks!"

Re:Zebrafish International Resource Center (4, Insightful)

kongit (758125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329944)

Seeing that he works with fish and speaks many languages I must assume that babelfish are involved in some manner. Additionally the name Zoltán seems suspicious. I suggest you contact the nearest Extra-Terrestrial Human Interrelations office in your district.

Re:Zebrafish International Resource Center (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22331208)

"Insightful" for clearly funny-aimed post? Now, THAT is funny.

Re:Zebrafish International Resource Center (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329978)

For other universities who happen to want to work with these fish, I recommend contacting Zoltán Varga. He's a director at the Zebrafish International Resource Center at the University of Oregon.
Any reason we can't crossbreed the fish ourselves?

Re:Zebrafish International Resource Center (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330582)

NO, though you may end up having to sleep in the wet spot.

Re:Zebrafish International Resource Center (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330446)

For some reason when the dog is bad, they always chastise him in German.

"I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men and German to my horse" (attributed to Charles V)

Re:Zebrafish International Resource Center (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338750)

Which, given Charles V's original home and upbringing, the horse and God seem to win out.

Re:Zebrafish International RESCUE Center? (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22333022)

Oops. Misread that the first time by, but I'm sure there's some group out there making plans to rescue all of these zebrafish from the evils of medical research. Then they'll rehabilitate them and release them into the wild where they'll be free and happy.

New 80's Marketing Opportunity (2, Funny)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22329948)

Crystal Sushi

For the record... (1)

jwietelmann (1220240) | more than 6 years ago | (#22333340)

Crystal Pepsi [wikipedia.org] was actually from the early 90's.

transparent zebrafish (1)

neonsignal (890658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330030)

I looked at the photo, but I couldn't see the fish.

zebra fish (1)

neonsignal (890658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330056)

if it doesn't have stripes, can you still call it a zebrafish?... (please don't reply to this unless you want to get all techno-pedantic)

Re:zebra fish (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330180)

Nazi Pendantic mode enganged mine fuehrer!

Of course It's still a zebra fish, just with a rather nasty mutation. Both It's parents were Zebra fish with no other genetic modification otherwise.

Think about it, people like siamese twins, albinos and the like are still called humans even thuogh they have some rather glaring differences. I see no reason why these fish wouldn't be called Zebra Fish.

The real breakthrough (3, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330066)

Zebrafish are genetically similar to humans in many ways and serve as good models for human biology and disease.

Fuck cancer, I wanna be transparent too !

Not just cancer (4, Informative)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330142)

Two great things about zebrafish:

1. You can see all sorts of diseases in them, not just cancer.

2. They're cheap. A small team at a small lab, like at a State College [brockport.edu] (see Project #4), can do good quality research with them. Even better, several small teams can be researching concurrently.

Age old question. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330206)

"We don't know why cancer cells decide to move away from their primary site to other parts in the body."

Why did the cancer cell cross the road? To metastasize.

[Thank you Nullav [slashdot.org] (and others).]

Re:Age old question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22331246)

"We don't know why cancer cells decide to move away from their primary site to other parts in the body."
Once upon a time, there was a cancer cell king who had three sons. One day he gathered them and proclaimed: "Whoever...", etc.

Can we make deer glow in the dark, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22330264)

In the US there are a million DVCs (deer-vehicle crashes) per year, costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars of damage:

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_RC-1475_177128_7.pdf [michigan.gov]

There's lots of possible good value in genetically modified animals ( http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/12/31/0422226&from=rss [slashdot.org] ), including making deer flourescent to limit the # of crashes.

Re:Can we make deer glow in the dark, please? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330300)

Making animals glow is in the realm of genetic engineering. This is just clever crossbreeding.

Re:Can we make deer glow in the dark, please? (1)

HeroreV (869368) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330404)

How would we kill all the regular deer once we made the glowing deer?

Re:Can we make deer glow in the dark, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22330618)

With our cars, of course.

Re:Can we make deer glow in the dark, please? (1)

scottv67 (731709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22331810)

In the US there are a million DVCs (deer-vehicle crashes) per year, costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars of damage:

I have a much cheaper solution that, when applied to the deer, will greatly reduce the number of car-deer accidents:
http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/ExpFCAR.jpg [nildram.co.uk]

Re:Can we make deer glow in the dark, please? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337484)

The solution to that is to allow more hunting, not to make them more visible. We've gotten rid of most of the deer's natural predators... they're overpopulating and thus having more instances of contact with cars. Genetic altering would be horribly expensive, wouldn't affect the entire population for generations, if ever, not to mention that it'd seriously discourage hunting, which is one of the only ways that deer populations are partially controlled as it is.

That, and teach people to drive. I've had deer jump out in front of my car after dark, as well as having slowed down since I saw them a ways off. They aren't impossible to avoid if you just use your brains and your eyes, don't drive fast where you can't see, etc.

Another Transparent Creature? (2, Informative)

Selfunfocused (1215732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330348)

I just read about the transparent frog [pinktentacle.com] . Did Japanese scientists do this one too? I mean, I've known they had a transparency fetish ever since I stumbled on that hentai site but this is ridiculous!

Seen them before (1)

bjbest (808259) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330382)

Remember seeing them before as novelties in the aquariums of a department store pet department... and was likely 25 years ago.

Sounds fishy to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22330708)

Blindfold, last cigarette than....

Wake me when they actually make progress (1)

saturnino (304908) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330742)

Animal models were great when we didn't realize how the heart worked or what the liver did. They are pretty much worthless nowadays for anything other than producing grants that suck money from worthwhile endeavors into "ooh, look what cool stuff we did now!" pursuits. BTW, I expect to be sleeping for a long while.

Re:Wake me when they actually make progress (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22330886)

Animal models are how you do science to see what genes do.

In particular, zebrafish are popular for studying developmental biology, because they're clear as embryos and scientists can watch an organism form - in particular, they can mess up some genes and see what effect that has on the fish's development.

What's great about this clear fish line is that it brings the same see-through-vertebrate benefits to all kinds of other researchers.

Think of it as a debugging tool. It's a way to get printf statements while the code is still running, rather than just examining the core file after you seg fault.

Giving fish cancer? (1)

Spacezilla (972723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22330810)

Won't someone PLEASE think of the... fish?!

More to the point... (2, Interesting)

entee (1234920) | more than 6 years ago | (#22331528)

The real question to ask here is whether the spreading they observed has anything to do with how human cancers actually work.

1.) I think it's safe to say noone contracts cancer by getting injected with a tumor
2.) A melanoma (external skin cancer) would probably never originate inside the abdominal cavity. In other words, by implanting it you have already "metastasized" it.

and most importantly,

3.) It's a fish. It's not a human. It's not even a mammal. It's not even warm blooded. In other words, while its genetic code may not be too different on a DNA level, it's pretty gosh darned different from a human. Are the conclusions about how a human cancer evolves in a fish clinically relevant in humans. More to the point, will a fish's immune system deal with the spreading cells substantially differently than a human system. Given that genes important in embryonic development are often also oncogenes, does a model organism with a radically different developmental program really reflect how cancer operates in a human.

Bottom line: When mice subjected to the same kinds of experiments are treated with drug candidates, those drugs occasionally seem to work brilliantly. The mechanism of action for those candidates in some cases have been worked out, but still virtually none have any effect in humans. So, clearly, cancer does not work the same way in humans and mice. And mice are a whole lot more closely related to us than zebrafish are.

Re:More to the point... (2, Informative)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22332408)

So, clearly, cancer does not work the same way in humans and mice.

You're mistaking treatment with mechanisms. It turns out the basic mechanisms in cancer development are similar across species. The complete picture is still not known - which is why the "War on Cancer" turns out to have not produced the "cures" that were expected back in the seventies. Cancer is a generic term, covering a wide range of individual and different diseases. Understanding the biology behind it is what has been a slow, painstaking process.

A lot of cancers appear in senescence. That is, as a given organism gets older, it is more likely to develop cancer. For a human, that's in their latter 40's and 50's. For a mouse, it's around 15 months. In a population, there is going to be genetic diversity. One of the "problems" you point out, that drugs that work well with mice don't always work well with humans, can be traced to the fact that the mice used are genetically identical (they're bred that way), while humans aren't. That means that a single dosage (x amount per Kg), you will have a range of potential reactions - some people will react well, some won't at all, and some will show toxicity.

The nice thing about using fish has been pointed out. You can use a lot of them, they have a short lifespan, and you can even use a genetically diverse population. This is very useful when attempting to determine the effects of something on cancer development and incidence.

Re:More to the point... (1)

entee (1234920) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337520)

You're right, genetic diversity does matter, and maybe I'm a bit cavalier in saying if a drug doesn't work that means cancer is different. But I disagree that mechanism and treatment are distinct.

I would say that treatment and mechanism are related. Cancer has been "cured" in mice dozens of times and the reason those cures don't work in humans is not a dosage or a genetic issue. Rather it's that the drugs used while addressing a particular mechanism miss others. For example drugs that work great in mice for treating cancers with over-abundant EGF receptor also work in humans, but fail after a time because the cancer mutates in humans, but doesn't in mice. It's not a problem with the dose or the genetics, it's just that the mouse provides an incomplete picture.

While yes, mice and humans both develop cancers in senescence, most mouse models of cancer do not work this way because then out of a population of mice, you'd get a few old ones with cancer, and likely they'd be different kinds due to different causes. In other words, you'd have something that's hard to study and wouldn't give you much data as you would only have one or two examples of each particular cancer. Instead most mouse models are bred to be cancer prone, which gets to your genetics point. For the most part, humans aren't bred to be very cancer prone. The models they're talking about here are even worse, they're xenograft models. I.e. you take a tumor from a totally different organism, put it in that organism then see what happens. I think it's safe to say that people never get cancer by getting injected with a chimpanzee tumor.

Cancer is an extraordinarily complex disease. Genetically a mess, subtly different in every case, it's just really hard to study. And while animal models can help, I think it's hard to draw really strong conclusions from them, particularly in organisms that are very different in many ways. I'm just not convinced that zebrafish are a really good model going forward.

I guess my point about this article summarizes as cool trick, what for?

picture of the fish (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 6 years ago | (#22333350)

Below is the picture of the transparent zebra fish:

\_______^
  > | | | | | >
/-------V

Another method... (1)

X86Daddy (446356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22333452)

Glofish are the same species, with a genetic hack to express green, yellow, or red flourescent protien in their muscle tissue. After the initial release of the red ones, which still had the black and silvery pigment expressions, and had bad reviews for being "dim", the company that "makes" them switched their stock to ones that expressed the flourescent protien coupled with these same types of albinism. Glofish purchased now days are very brightly colored as a result of no competing layers of skin pigment.

If you cross breed a bunch of them, including second gen cross breeds (with regular zebrafish stock) you will get a few of these albino/clearish fish. Pretty neat that anyone can get going with the same type of hackery with a $4 fish purchase from Walmart. :-)

Cure for Cancer (1)

franksands (938435) | more than 6 years ago | (#22333812)

Let's hope this one does not create a virus that kills 95% of the human population, right?

Talk About... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22334026)

Talk about being naked in an entirely new kind of way.
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