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Seattle Researchers Turn to Zebrafish to Treat Heart Defects

Seattle Researchers Turn to Zebrafish to Treat Heart Defects

Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Zebrafish, associated mostly with household pets rather than scientific research, may be the key to identifying optimal drug therapies to treat muscular dystrophy and congenital heart defects. Since zebrafish contain most of the same genes found in humans, researchers at Seattle Children’s are able to closely study how mutations found in these fish are similar to the ones that cause muscular dystrophy and heart defects in humans. In a process called genome editing, Children’s researcher Dr. Lisa Maves, has begun identifying which mutations are causing muscular dystrophy in humans, then engineering those mutations in the zebrafish to see what genes are disrupted and cause the disease to take precedence. “This technology has come out in the last year or two, so we’re now just beginning to engineer the fish,” said Maves, who has been studying zebrafish muscle development for 10 years.

About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute together deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, Seattle Children’s Hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, and emergency and outreach services to families from around the world.

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention, bioethics and much more.

Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association work together to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care, clinical care and research. The foundation receives nearly 80,000 gifts each year, from lemonade stand proceeds to corporate sponsorships. Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, serving as the umbrella organization for 450 groups of people who turn an activity they love into a fundraiser. Support from the foundation and guild association makes it possible for Seattle Children’s care and research teams to improve the health and well-being of all kids.

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