Zebrafish cancer models have provided critical insight into understanding the link between aberrant developmental pathways and tumorigenesis. The unique strengths of zebrafish as compared to other vertebrate model systems include the combination of fecundity, readily available and efficient transgenesis techniques, transparency that facilitates in vivo cell lineage tracing, and amenability for high-throughput applications. In addition to early embryo readouts, zebrafish can develop tumors at ages ranging from 2 weeks old to adulthood. Tumorigenesis is driven by genetically introducing oncogenes using selected promoter/tissue-specific expression, with either mosaic expression or with the generation of a stable transgenic line. Here, we detail a research pipeline to facilitate the study of human oncogenes in zebrafish systems. The goals of this approach are to identify conserved developmental pathways that may be critical for tumor development and to create platforms for testing novel therapies.
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GCK is supported by a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas postdoctoral fellowship through the UTSW Cancer Intervention and Prevention Discoveries training program, a QuadW-American Association for Cancer Research Fellowship for Clinical/Translational Sarcoma Research, and a Young Investigator Grant from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Supported by grants R01CA135731 from the NIH and RP120685 from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (to JFA). JFA is supported by the Nearburg Family Professorship in Pediatric Oncology Research.
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