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[翻译]SCIENCE IN THE NEWS - A Laboratory Turns Deadly Insect Venom into Medicine

更新时间:2016/8/29 8:23:55 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

To most of us, medicine comes from a drugstore. But originally, much of the medicine developed in the last century came from natural sources: plants, bacteria and fungi.

对我们大多数人来说,药物来自于药店。但最初,大部分上世纪开发的药物来自于天然来源:植物、细菌和真菌。

Now, a group of scientists in Great Britain are hoping to develop a medicine from poisonous insects. They are researching whether the deadly venom of some insects can work against bacteria that make people sick.

英国一群科学家目前希望从毒虫中开发药物。他们正在研究一些昆虫的致命毒液是否可以抵抗让人生病的细菌。

Venomtech laboratory

毒液科技实验室

About 400 insects live in plastic containers in the Venomtech laboratory. Each container has an image of a skull and crossbones. The images warn that a bite from the insects inside can be anything from painful to downright deadly.

大约有400种昆虫生活在毒液科技实验室的塑料容器里。每个容器上都贴着骷髅图。该图片是在警告,让这些容器里的昆虫咬上一口会非常痛苦甚至致命。

The venom from these insects contains hundreds of chemical components. Each component has a different target and effect.

来自这些昆虫的毒液含有数百种化学成分。每种成分都有不同的指标和效果。

Medical researchers, such as Venomtech managing director Steven Trim, separate the venom into its component parts. Then they create a library of those components, looking for the ones that could be turned into new drugs.

毒液科技总裁斯蒂芬·特瑞姆(Steven Trim)等医学研究人员将这些毒液分离成各自的组成成分,然后创建一个成分资料库,看哪些成分可以被转化为新药。

“Some of them we found can kill bacteria, bacteria like E.Coli and staphylococcus, so they're very relevant at the moment where modern medicines (are) failing. And we're also finding venoms that are modifying and killing cancer cells.”

“我们发现其中一些成分可以杀死像大肠杆菌和葡萄球菌一类的细菌。因此它们在这种现代药物失效的情况下非常有意义。而且我们正在寻找可以改造和杀死癌细胞的毒液。”

Finding new ways to kill bacteria is important to researchers. One reason is because people have used antibiotics so much that some bacteria can now resist it.

寻找杀死细菌的新方法对研究人员来说非常重要。原因之一是因为人们滥用抗生素导致一些细菌现在已经有了抗药性。

For example, tuberculosis used to be curable with antibiotics. Now it is not.

例如,肺结核原本可以用抗生素治愈,现在不行了。

How do they get the venom out?

如何提取毒液?

To get as much venom as possible, researchers feed the insects well, then put them to sleep temporarily.

为了提取尽可能多的毒液,研究人员喂饱昆虫然后让它们暂时睡着。

Steven Trim of Venomtech says researchers anaesthetize the invertebrates to make removing the venom safer. After all, an immobile insect cannot bite.

毒液科技的特瑞姆表示,研究人员麻醉这些无脊椎动物以确保提取毒液更安全。毕竟,不能活动的虫子不咬人。

Anaesthetizing the insect is better for the animals as well, says Trim.

特瑞姆表示,麻醉这些昆虫对它们也好。

Researchers then electrically stimulate the insect to contract the muscle and squeeze the gland. The pressure produces a small amount of venom.

研究人员然后用电刺激这些昆虫让肌肉收缩并挤压腺体,这种压力能产生少量毒液。

Researchers separate the venom into hundreds of proteins. Each protein contains between one and five different molecules. Someday, those tiny molecules might be turned into powerful new drugs.

研究人员将这些毒液分解成数百种蛋白质。每种蛋白质包含1到5个不同的分子。有一天,这些微小的分子可能会转化成为一种功能强大的新药。

I’m Marsha James.

Words in This Story

venom – n. poison that is produced by an animal and used to kill or injure another animal

drug-resistant – n. the reduction in effectiveness of a drug

downright – adv. completely or totally

maximize – v. to increase something as much as possible

peptide n. a compound containing two or more amino acids in which the carboxyl group of one acid is linked to the group of other

anaesthetize v. – deprive of feeling or awareness

immobile – adj. unable to move

gland – n. an organ in the body that makes a substance which is used by the body

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