Tune in weekly to our virtual series "Seventeen Minutes of Science" every Tuesday at 11am PST / 2pm ET where we go live on Facebook with a new guest each week to talk about how science and biotechnology is woven into their lives for (you guessed it) 17 minutes!
For episode 37 of 17 Minutes of Science we are joined by Dr. Rita Fior, a developmental Biologist fascinated by how cells interact with each other, to deliver instructions, to collaborate, to compete or synchronize their actions.
With the exception of a few biomarker-driven therapies, most patients are treated very similarly, with chemo or radiotherapy and rounds of trial-and-error approaches before finding the best treatment. But, “Cancer is as unique as the person fighting it”, which is why we need to have a personalized approach to cancer treatment. This is where Dr. Fior's Lab comes in. One of their major goals is to develop a test that would help doctors choose the best available therapy for each individual patient, using zebrafish Avatars.
Dr. Fior's Lab also investigates the cellular and molecular interactions that occur between human tumor cells and zebrafish innate immune cells. Innate immune cells are the first line of defense of the organism against infection, damage or any other threats, and are highly present in the tumor ecosystem. These cells can behave as “good cops” (protecting the host against cancer) or as corrupted “bad cops” (helping the tumor). Dr. Fior's goal is to understand these processes and use the zebrafish xenografts to discover new therapies to be combined with immunotherapy.
Tune in to 17 Minutes of Science to learn more from Dr. Fior about her the novel assays she has developed using zebrafish.