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How zebrafish are changing the way doctors treat Maritime children with cancer

Posted by Carolyn Ray on September 20, 2018 in News
Dr. Jason Berman's zebrafish lab in the Life Science Research Institute (LSRI).
Dr. Jason Berman's zebrafish lab in the Life Science Research Institute (LSRI).

Inside a lab at Dalhousie Medical School, 12,000 zebrafish swim in tanks that line the room from floor to ceiling.

It looks like a pet store or an aquarium, but these guppy-sized fish have an important connection to children being treated across the street at the IWK Health Centre: they share the same cancers.

"That may seem a little science fiction," says Dr. Jason Berman, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist at the Halifax hospital. "Remarkably, these little fish are genetically very similar to humans.

"And that's really important when we're studying cancer, because cancer is really a genetic disease."

Read more on CBC.ca.