17.10.2022 - Biomedicine, Healthcare, Life science

New zebrafish lab aims to evaluate effectiveness of anticancer drugs

A new research project launched at the University of Latvia’s (UL) Faculty of Medicine aims to establish a zebrafish laboratory and introduce a zebrafish model to determine the sensitivity of tumour cells to anticancer drugs.

Zebrafish are aquarium fish, which many laboratories around the world use as a model organism in pre-clinical research. They help to better understand disease mechanisms, regeneration, find and test therapeutic compounds.

Finding out what medicine to take faster

Researchers from the Laboratory of Preclinical Research will carry out the project under the lead of Dr. pharm. Vadims Parfejevs. The team will collaborate with specialists from Riga East University Hospital, who will help define clinically relevant questions and provide samples for testing.

“A person’s disease is almost as unique as the person themselves, which is why it is important to look for an individual treatment approach, called personalised medicine. Zebrafish models could help to get to the answer of what medicine a patient should take faster and more accurately,” explains Vadims Parfejevs.

The pancreas is the main focus of the project. It is a complex organ made up of an exocrine and an endocrine system. The exocrine part of the pancreas produces digestive enzymes, while the endocrine part produces hormones to regulate the metabolism. The exocrine compartment where several pancreatic diseases originate, including pancreatic cancer, which is one of the most difficult tumours to treat.

The research project “Implementation of a zebrafish model to evaluate the efficacy of anticancer drugs” will be carried out with the financial support of SIA Mikrotīkls, administered by the UL Foundation. The research team led by Parfejevs will receive a grant of 40 thousand euros and plans to complete the research within two years.

A long-standing patron of the UL

Mikrotīkls has been a patron of the University of Latvia since 2011. Donations to date exceed two million euros. In March, Mikrotīkls donated another 500,000 euros to support various science and medicine projects and researchers at the UL. With the company’s support, UL has purchased several pieces of equipment that help researchers in their daily work. The patron also awards annual scholarships to dedicated students.

Source: Anda Asere (labsoflatvia.com).
Photo: Toms Grīnbergs, LU
Professor of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Latvia Una Riekstiņa, researcher Kaspars Jēkabsons and leading researcher Vadims Parfejevs

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