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Nearly ten compounds from zebrafish screens are in or about to enter the clinic, and zebrafish 'avatars' are gaining traction as a tool to guide treatment plans for patients with cancers and rare diseases.
When it comes to finding first-in-class drugs, phenotypic screens punch well above their weight. But phenotypic screens in cells are still unable to capture the effects of small molecules on many complex biological phenomena. And mouse models that offer deeper insights into activity and toxicity can’t be screened at scale. Consequently, researchers are increasingly eyeing an alternative model organism that offers the best of both worlds — high-throughput capabilities and whole organism biology. The zebrafish is catching on.