BMedSc, MBChB (Hons), PhD (CUHK), MRCP (HK), FHKCP, FHKAM (Medicine), MD (HKU), FRCP (Glasgow, London, Edinburgh)
I am Professor Anskar Leung, one of the founders of ZeBlast Technology Ltd., a biotechnology company dedicated to developing drugs for blood cancers through scientific innovations.
As a professor in haematology, I have seen how devastating blood cancers can be. Currently, blood cancer is the fifth deadliest cancer worldwide. Each case is caused by multiple genetic abnormalities, with hundreds of gene mutation combinations.
Unfortunately today there are only fewer than 10 FDA-approved medications that target specific mutations in blood cancers. This really slows down the efficiency for developing medical treatments for blood cancer patients.
Zebrafish has emerged as a model organism for blood diseases, with its entire genome sequenced, showing more than 80% similarity to that in humans. The fish’s blood system is also remarkably similar to that in humans. Compared to the mouse model, the zebrafish model is at least 10 times more cost and space effective.
At ZeBlast, we have successfully generated zebrafish carrying human blood cancer mutations, which developed the characteristic features of human diseases, including responses to drugs that target the specific mutations.
Traditionally, generation of transgenic zebrafish, particularly those carrying multiple transgenes, takes at least 2 years. But ZeBlast takes a totally new approach where our products focus on blood cancer models which have been characterized to ensure faithful recapitulation of human diseases, making them available off-the-shelf for both industrial and academic customers to begin their drug discovery journal almost immediately.
I hope you will join our journey to develop effective treatments for blood cancers.
Professor Anskar Y H Leung