Chapter 21: End of the Experiment
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Time was like an arrow. Whether one was busy or at leisure, it had already flitted by swiftly before one realized it.
In the blink of an eye, another year was over. It was now 2021 in the Earth Federation.
Although classes had not started, many postgraduate candidates had returned to campus in advance.
With the return of the students, the campus that was once deserted became busy again.
Nonetheless, over the past month, Chen Chen’s team of three had been slaving away. They had to work in the laboratory for over ten hours a day.
Breakfast was at eight each morning. By nine, they would reach the laboratory, only going out for lunch at noon. By the time they came out, it was already nine at night.
Sometimes, when they were truly exhausted, Chen Chen and Wang Wei would spend the night in the laboratory’s lounge instead of returning to campus.
As for Xia Yin, her responsibilities were more logistical in nature, such as getting food, bringing water, and looking after the laboratory animals. Thus, she had it easier compared to the other two.
Three days before the semester began, the final batch of white mice implanted with egg cells produced fresh clones at last. The early stage of the experiment was successfully completed.
Following that, Chen Chen divided these cloned white mice into three groups.
The first group was the brain injury model group, which was further divided into two teams, A and B.
Team A would be treated with artificially cultivated autologous stem cells whereas Team B would be treated with cloned autologous stem cells. There were four mice in each team.
The second group was the spinal injury model group. Similarly, Team A would receive treatment using artificially cultivated autologous stem cells while Team B would receive treatment of cloned autologous stem cells. There were also four mice in both teams.
The third group had the greatest number of mice – twelve. These were elderly SD rats that were specially selected. They were to be used in the experiment on rebuilding the immune system.
All the rats in this group had been cloned, which meant that they had corresponding cloned stem cells.
The majority of their hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells would be killed off with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Then, they would be injected with cloned stem cells to see if they would regain their youth.
This was known as bone marrow transplantation.
Why was the third group the largest?
Throughout the process of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, most of these mice would die.
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy were treatments that utilized radiation and chemicals to kill off cancer cell clusters at a certain part of a patient’s body.
However, this sort of treatment came at a great cost. After all, while the cancer cells were killed off, the ordinary cells in a patient’s body would also be overwhelmed.
It was due to this that patients who underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy would lose their hair.
Moreover, many patients with advanced cancer died, not because of the spread of cancer cells but because of the chemotherapy process that had destroyed their bodies. It was truly a tragedy.
Since cancer was formally discovered in 1911, the battle between humans and cancer had lasted for over a century.
In this protracted war, humans had been helpless against cancer, until the subsequent emergence of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, all the way to the various types of targeted drugs today. Bit by bit, they staked their claim to their own lives.
The advent of treatment like bone marrow transplant marked the first victory for humans in the war against cancer.
Victories like this would continue to grow until one day, when humans would completely defeat this disease called cancer, causing it to vanish among the human race.
Just like the smallpox of olden days.
Of course, bone marrow transplants might not work every time.
For one, the success rate of bone marrow transplantation was not higher than sixty percent, even though it had been clinically approved as a treatment for leukemia by the medical profession.
Plus, out of this sixty percent, half of the patients would relapse after half a year.
This meant that bone marrow transplant was still a domain of thorny confrontation between humanity and disease.
If something went wrong in the intermediate stages and the entire batch of mice was to die, all the effort and resources of the past month would be poured down the drain.
After all, the original subjects would be gone. What would be the use of those corresponding cloned stem cells?
Therefore, Chen Chen was using the other mice to test the waters and accumulate experience in using radiotherapy and chemotherapy on mice.
Nevertheless, mice were different from humans. These treatments were still too harsh for mice. Chen Chen could only guarantee a forty percent survival rate.
However, with the birth of the last batch of cloned mice, the preliminary preparations of Chen Chen’s three experiments were finished at last.
After this was the actual experiment process.
Five more days passed by. It was officially the beginning of classes.
Chen Chen and the other two applied to delay their return to classes as they continued to hole up in the laboratory day and night.
At the same time, the first and second groups of mice started to show signs of recovery alongside the administration of stem cell treatment.
The third group, however, did not fare as well. Five out of twelve SD rats were already dead. Although the rest had survived, they were breathing their last and had even stopped eating.
Two days later, the chemotherapy had ended. Some of the dying mice did not recover at all and eight or nine died one after another, leaving only six alive.
Still, six was enough.
Chen Chen had only hoped that two or three out of these six could hold on until the end of the experiment.
Another month and a half flitted by under such tense circumstances.
The experiment period, which had been planned to last three months, finally came to an end.
At the moment, the three of them were huddled before a group of mice, excitement evident in their expressions.
“Final result verification...”
Chen Chen spoke into the recorder, “Group one, brain injury model group, Team A. Three subjects, three survived. Effect of treatment: Number one is relatively better, Number two is significantly better, Number three is slightly better...
“Group one, brain injury model group, Team B. Three subjects, three survived. Effect of treatment: Number one is significantly better, Number two is significantly better, Number three is significantly better.
“Summary: The effectiveness of treatment in Team A, which used artificial stem cell cultivation, is clearly inferior to Team B, which used cloned autologous stem cells.
“Group two, spinal injury model group, Team A, four subjects... Team B, four subjects. Similarly, whether in terms of recovery rate or effectiveness of treatment: Team A is inferior to Team B.
“Experiment group three: in the end, three subjects survived. Basic CT indicates that the body functions of experiment subjects, which had shown signs of aging, have been greatly improved in all aspects...”
“It’s incredible – all three experiments are a success!”
Wang Wei patted Chen Chen’s shoulder spiritedly. “In other words, the cloned young stem cells are far more effective than the artificially cultivated autologous stem cells?”
“Furthermore, the third experiment also illustrates that replacing the bone marrow can really restore one’s youth?”
Xia Yin murmured with a look of disbelief, “Chen Chen, we’re going to be famous...”
Although Chen Chen wore a smile too, his eyes were cool and collected. “Following this, I’ll write two papers. As I’ve said before, Xia Yin will be the lead author, Brother Wei will be the second author, and I’ll be the corresponding author. I assume no one has a problem with that?”
“Not at all. I’d be taking credit for both of your achievements. If it weren’t for you, Lil Chen, the experiments wouldn’t have gone so smoothly.”
Wang Wei wore a serene expression. Suddenly, he wondered out loud. “By the way, why are there only two papers? Didn’t we carry out three experiments with three groups of subjects?”
“One of the papers will explore the difference between artificially cultivated stem cells and cloned autologous stem cells in terms of their effectiveness on the human body. This will include the first and second experiments by default.”
Chen Chen explained further, “The second paper will be regarding the experiment on bone marrow transplantation.
“You could say that the first and second experiments are more persuasive when placed together.”
Xia Yin beamed and nodded. “What about submission? Surely we’re submitting to a first-rank journal?”
“Of course, the first of these two research results may be a little flimsy, but the second one would have no problem getting accepted by a first-rank journal.”
Upon hearing this, Xia Yin and Wang Wei cheered once more.
“Then, which journal do you plan to submit to?” Xia Yin followed up with another question.
“There are only a few top, first-rank journals in the field of biology. Of course, we’re submitting to Cell!”
Wang Wei had answered before Chen Chen could. “Didn’t your tutor tell you? The shorter a journal’s name, the more impressive it is!”
Cell was a magazine about the latest research findings in the field of life sciences. In the field of biology, it was undeniably the cream of the crop. Since its first publication, its impact factor had not dropped down below the top three. It was like a form of faith for people who were professionally involved in life sciences.
Those engaged in scientific research would always mention “CNS papers”. CNS here was an abbreviation of Cell, Nature, and Science, the top three publications. Anyone would be proud to publish a paper in any of these three journals.
Chen Chen glanced at the other two who were puffing up with excitement and he burst out laughing. “Brother Wei is right. Of course, we’re submitting to Cell. After all, that’s our faith.”