Cassar S, Adatto I, Freeman JL, Gamse JT, Iturria I, Lawrence C, Muriana A, Peterson RT, Van Cruchten S, Zon LI. 2020. Use of Zebrafish in Drug Discovery Toxicology. Chemical research in toxicology. 33(1):95-118. Pubmed: 31625720 DOI:10.1021/acs.chemrestox.9b00335


Unpredicted human safety events in clinical trials for new drugs are costly in terms of human health and money. The drug discovery industry attempts to minimize those events with diligent preclinical safety testing. Current standard practices are good at preventing toxic compounds from being tested in the clinic; however, false negative preclinical toxicity results are still a reality. Continual improvement must be pursued in the preclinical realm. Higher-quality therapies can be brought forward with more information about potential toxicities and associated mechanisms. The zebrafish model is a bridge between in vitro assays and mammalian in vivo studies. This model is powerful in its breadth of application and tractability for research. In the past two decades, our understanding of disease biology and drug toxicity has grown significantly owing to thousands of studies on this tiny vertebrate. This Review summarizes challenges and strengths of the model, discusses the 3Rs value that it can deliver, highlights translatable and untranslatable biology, and brings together reports from recent studies with zebrafish focusing on new drug discovery toxicology.

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The Zon laboratory aims to dissect how assaults to the hematopoietic system cause severe diseases such as leukemias, lymphomas, and anemias. They investigate hematopoietic development and disease using chemical screens, genetic screens, and analysis of novel transgenic lines in zebrafish.

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