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Review on Zebrafish as Avatar Models, International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2023)

The increasing number of anti-cancer drugs poses a challenge for doctors who need to choose the best treatment for patients. Precision cancer medicine aims to match a drug with a tumors unique characteristics to maximize its effectiveness. However, current approaches don’t fully consider tumor heterogeneity or differences within the cells that make up the tumor, which can greatly affect how well the treatment works and the patient’s outcome. 

To better understand these issues, scientists are using models called avatars. Avatars recreate a patient’s tumor in an animal model, allowing researchers to study how the tumor responds to drugs. While there are established avatar models using mice, they often take too long to generate for practical use in clinical decision-making. 

Zebrafish are emerging as a promising avatar model for cancer research. They offer several advantages, including being quick to generate and cost-effective. In this review, we discuss the recent advantages of using zebrafish as cancer avatars and highlight their unique features that make them ideal for studying tumor heterogeneity and improving precision cancer medicine. 

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