How the Richard White Lab Studies Zebrafish to Understand Cancer

VIDEO | 01:18

Cancer biologist and oncologist Richard White studies zebrafish to understand how tumors start and why they eventually metastasize to new locations.

Show transcript


We’re currently in the basement of the Zuckerman Research Building at Memorial Sloan Kettering. This is the home to where we have our zebrafish. You've probably seen them in aquariums, but we use them to study cancer.

It’s hard to know when cancers start. It’s really hard to know when cancers spread to other places. The real advantage of zebrafish is because it 's transparent, it lets us see those things at unprecedented detail.

Here I’m joining Judy, one of the research technicians in my lab. And it’s really these types of microscopes that let us see what’s happening. This ability to focus in on those individual cancer cells, for trying to understand how do cancers start and how do they spread.

While traditional cancer therapies have been aimed at trying to kill every cancer cell, what our studies are indicating is that the things that surround the cancer cells and help those cells grow and metastasize might be just as good a target as targeting the cancer cells themselves.

This is a real opportunity for a new way of thinking about treating cancer.