Every year, millions of people around the world lose their lives to cancer. Thanks to advances in treatment and early diagnosis over recent decades, we’ve made big strides in treating many different types of tumour, with survival improving all the time. But it’s still very difficult to treat cancer that has spread around the body, by tumour cells hitching a ride in the bloodstream. Tackling this challenge in human patients is complicated, so cancer researchers are turning to zippy little zebrafish like this one, which has been implanted with a tumour highlighted with red fluorescent dye. The blood vessels are stained green, and a tell-tale trail of red cancer cells can be seen creeping up from the tumour into the rest of the animal. By tracking these cells as they spread – and discovering which genes and molecules are responsible – scientists can develop new approaches for stopping cancer in its tracks.
Written by Kat Arney
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.