ZScientific Release: New Documentary Zebrafish: Practically People Showcases the Little Minnow That Provides Big Insight Into Human Disease

Published: Jan 10, 2018


Film Designated an Official Documentary Selection of 2018 Mediterranean Film Festival


WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Zebrafish: Practically People, Transforming How We Study Disease, a new documentary about the common aquarium fish that may be the key to solving some of the most prevalent and devastating human diseases, premiered last night at the National Press Club. The film, which can be viewed at Zebrafishfilm.org, was recently named an Official Documentary Selection of the 2018 Mediterranean Film Festival.

In her directorial debut, Jennifer A. Manner, CEO of ZScientific, LLC, created a visually-stunning documentary to educate the medical community about the unprecedented benefits of Zebrafish as an effective biomedical research model. Zebrafish: Practically People, Transforming How We Study Disease concludes with a call for additional funding to support the vital work of scientists who study Zebrafish.

"Despite demonstrated success and the promise of further discovery, funding for Zebrafish research is minimal, since its benefits are not as well known or understood as other biomedical research models," said Jennifer. "Zebrafish: Practically People demonstrates how, in a world where healthcare spending is out of control, Zebrafish are transforming the way we study and cure disease by yielding better data, for pennies on the dollar, in a fraction of the time."

Zebrafish research has advanced the understanding and treatment of cancer, diabetes, addiction, Alzheimer's, heart disease, Parkinson's, epilepsy, autism, and rare genetic diseases like Prader-Willi Syndrome. By working with Zebrafish, researchers have discovered several previously unknown genes that are involved in rare forms of muscular dystrophy, genetic pathways involved in human embryo development and heart physiology, and drugs that are being tested as future treatments for skin cancer.

"Zebrafish have most of the same organs, tissues and cells as people, but because they are small and transparent we can study the behavior of cells within the context of the entire organism," said Eric Glasgow, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Molecular Oncology Research, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University. "They share 70 percent of our genes, and 84 percent of genes associated with human disease have a zebrafish counterpart. These small, transparent fish yield large quantities of statistically accurate, reliable and fast data for disease modeling and drug screening. The implications for medical research and scientific advancement are astounding."

"As a cancer diagnostic tool, zebrafish can act as human avatars, enabling highly individualized drug testing on patient tumors, based on the patient's biopsied samples," said Dr. Glasgow. "An increase in funding for Zebrafish research would accelerate the pace at which we learn about new drug candidates, and the speed with which these drugs get into the development pipeline and, ultimately, to the patients who need them."

Zebrafish also offer advantages over traditional rat and mice research models, including:

  • Zebrafish maintenance costs are less than 1/1000th of mice maintenance costs.
  • Zebrafish are small and social, with 70 Zebrafish per tank, versus only 5 mice per cage.
  • Zebrafish are significantly less expensive; one tank costs 6.5 cents per day, versus one cage of mice at 90 cents per day.
  • Zebrafish repair and regrow fully functional organs, including the spinal cord, heart, kidney, and retina.
  • Zebrafish reproduce quickly, producing 9,000 offspring in a lifetime, compared to only 300 offspring over a mouse's lifetime.
  • Zebrafish embryos are transparent, allowing direct, non-invasive observation of organ development, form and function.

Zebrafish are being studied at leading U.S. research institutions, like Georgetown University Medical Center. They are also being studied by NASA on the International Space Station, and by students in elementary, middle and high school classrooms around the country.

Donations to support the academic research of Zebrafish scientists worldwide as they work to cure disease can be made through ZScientific Foundation, Inc., a non-profit corporation in the process of applying for Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

For additional information visit zebrafishfilm.org.

About Jennifer A. Manner
Jennifer is a Zebrafish advocate, spreading the word about how Zebrafish have the potential to be the salvation of humankind. Jennifer is also the CEO and Founder of ZScientific, LLC, a company focused on biomedical research utilizing the Zebrafish model. Jennifer is also a Board Member of ZScientific Foundation, a not-for-profit committed to funding the innovative biomedical research that includes the Zebrafish model.

When not making films, Jennifer is the Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs of EchoStar Corporation, the largest U.S. commercial geostationary orbit satellite operator, where she is focused on spectrum management and policy. Jennifer is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer has authored two published books and numerous magazine and scholarly articles. Jennifer holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany in Theater Arts and Political Science, a JD cum laude from New York Law School, and an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center.

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SOURCE ZScientific, LLC


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