老鼠與人類勇闖新世界 A Brave New World for Mice and Men

 

精英翻譯社轉自https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0054/326094/web/

 

You remember 3-D printing, right? That's when you create things out of various materials, like plastic or even metal. You just input a design into the 3-D printer, sit back, and wait until it's done. In the early days of this technology, many of us weren't putting it to good use. We'd print off little models of Game of Thrones characters or swords to hang on the wall. Luckily, the scientists have now stepped in, and 3-D printing is helping to benefit humankind.

大家都記得3D列印技術對吧?此技術能將塑膠或金屬等各種材質,打造為各種物品。只要將設計圖輸入3D印表機,坐在一旁等待列印完成即可。此技術問世初期,並沒有受到妥善應用。我們可能只是將《冰與火之歌:權力遊戲》劇中的人物或刀劍印成模型,掛在牆上好看。幸好,科學家開始研究如何以3D列印技術,為全人類謀福利。

 

Researchers from Northwestern University in the U.S. see 3-D printing as a way to recreate damaged organs. Their work focuses specifically on a reproductive organ: the ovaries. Many women lose or damage their ovaries due to cancer and other sicknesses. So the big question is: How can their ovaries be replaced? Using ovaries from another human is medically possible, but it can be dangerous. Bodies can reject a new organ from another person, and the patient can get sick and even die. Here's where 3-D printing can help make a difference.

美國西北大學的研究人員認為,3 D 列印技術可用以重建受損器官。他們的研究主要著重於生殖器官「卵巢」。許多女性因為癌症與其他疾病而失去或傷害到卵巢機能。因此重點在於:該如何更換卵巢?使用他人捐贈的卵巢,雖然在醫學上似乎行得通,但風險不可小覷。人體很有可能排斥取自他人的新器官,患者會因而生病甚至死亡。而3D列印技術有助於改變這樣的情況。

 

The research team sought to prove their theory by experimenting on mice. First, they created little 3-D printed ovaries and implanted them in female mice. Then they had the mice mate with male mice. Three of their test subjects got pregnant and later had healthy babies. And just to be sure, the researchers waited for their children to give birth as well. All of the births went off without a hitch, meaning the procedure has no long-term side effects.

研究團隊希望透過老鼠實驗來證實他們的理論。首先,他們以3D印表機印出小型卵巢,並移植於若干雌鼠。再讓雌鼠與雄鼠交配。其中有3隻雌鼠受孕,並產下健康的後代。為了確保實驗無誤,研究人員繼續等待這些後代懷孕生子。生下來的小老鼠都很健康,意指此實驗並無長期副作用。

 

Following their first success, the team at Northwestern University is looking ahead to experiments on pigs. Pigs pose some different challenges because they have larger ovaries. If that experiment is successful, they might move on to humans. In another ten years, who knows what kinds of organs we'll be making with our 3-D printers.

第一項實驗成功之後,西北大學研究團隊接下來希望以豬隻做實驗。以豬做的實驗會帶來不同的挑戰,因為豬隻的卵巢體積較大。此實驗若成功,也許就會開始進行人體實驗。說不定10年後,3D印表機能列印出更多超乎想像的器官。

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