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通过治疗僵尸细胞 有望延缓人体衰老进程

‘Zombie Cells’: Researchers Fight Aging Process of the Human Body

僵尸细胞:研究人员对抗人体衰老进程

Creatures that refuse to die, commonly known as zombies, have appeared in popular movies and television shows for years.

拒绝死亡的生物通常被称为僵尸,多年来一直出现在流行的电影和电视节目中。

Recent research has shown that an unusual part of real human biology possesses zombie-like qualities: a special kind of cells.

最近的研究表明,真实的人类生物学中有一个不寻常的部分具有僵尸般的特质:即一种特殊的细胞。

Like the stars of many scary stories, these so-called ‘zombie cells' also refuse to die. Studies suggest that, as they build up in your body, they lead to aging and the conditions that come with that process, like bone and brain diseases.

和许多恐怖故事中的明星一样,这些所谓的“僵尸细胞”也拒绝死亡。研究表明,当僵尸细胞在你体内堆积时,它们会导致衰老以及与衰老随之而来的疾病,比如与骨骼和大脑有关的疾病。

Now, researchers are studying drugs that can kill zombie cells and possibly treat the problems they bring.

如今,研究人员正在研究可以杀死僵尸细胞的药物,并可能治愈因僵尸细胞而起的问题。

James Kirkland is a medical doctor and aging specialist with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He is working on the research. He told the Associated Press that, generally, the goal is to fight aging itself. This in turn may delay the appearance of some age-related disease and disabilities.

詹姆斯·柯克兰德是明尼苏达州罗切斯特市梅奥诊所(Mayo Clinic)的一名医生以及抗衰方面的专家,他参与了这项研究。他告诉美联社,总的来说,研究目标是对抗衰老本身。这又进而可能延迟一些与年龄有关的疾病和残疾的出现。

The research has been done mainly in mice. Earlier this year, the first test on people was published and provided some interesting results.

这项研究主要是在老鼠身上进行的。今年早些时候发布了第一个在人体进行的测试,并提供了一些有趣的研究结果。

Zombie cells are actually called senescent cells. They start out like usual cells, but then face problems, like viral infection or damage to their genetic material (DNA). At that point, a cell may die or become a zombie cell – entering a state of suspended animation.

僵尸细胞实际上被称为老化细胞。它们一开始像普通细胞一样,但后来会面临一些如病毒感染或其遗传物质(DNA)受损等问题。此时,一个细胞可能会死亡,也可能变成僵尸细胞——进入一种假死状态。

These zombie cells release chemicals that can harm nearby normal cells. That is where the trouble starts.

这些僵尸细胞释放的化学物质会伤害邻近的正常细胞。这就是问题开始的根源。

What kind of trouble? In studies on mice, drugs that destroy zombie cells — called senolytics — have been shown to improve many different conditions. This includes cataracts, diabetes, enlargement of the heart, kidney problems, and age-related muscle loss.

是什么样的问题呢?在对老鼠的研究中,破坏僵尸细胞的药物被称为“senolytics”,被证明可以改善许多不同的症状,可改善的症状包括白内障、糖尿病、心肌扩张、肾脏问题以及与年龄有关的肌肉萎缩等。

Mouse studies have also shown a more direct tie between zombie cells and aging. When drugs targeting those cells were given to older mice, the animals showed improved walking speed, strength and an ability to continue physical activity. Even when researchers used the treatment on very old mice, it extended their lifespan by about 36 percent.

对老鼠的研究也表明,僵尸细胞与衰老之间有着更为直接的联系。当针对这些细胞的药物被注射到年龄较大的老鼠身上时,这些老鼠在行走速度、力量和继续体育活动等方面显示出了更好的能力。即使当研究人员用这种疗法治疗非常年老的老鼠时,老鼠的寿命也延长了36%。

Researchers have also shown that putting zombie cells into young mice generally made them act older. Their walking speed slowed down. Their muscle strength and ability to stay active also decreased. Tests showed the newly added cells changed other cells into the zombie state.

研究人员还发现,将僵尸细胞注入年轻的老鼠体内通常会让老鼠更显老,老鼠走路的速度变慢了,它们的肌肉力量和保持活动的能力也下降了。实验显示,新增的细胞(注射进老鼠体内的僵尸细胞)将其它的细胞变成了僵尸状态。

This year, Kirkland and his team published the first study of a zombie-cell treatment in people. It involved 14 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an often deadly lung disease. Risk of the disease rises with age, and patients' lungs show evidence of zombie cells.

今年,柯克兰德和他的团队发表了关于人体僵尸细胞治疗的第一项研究。该研究涉及14名特发性肺纤维化患者,特发性肺纤维化通常是一种致命的肺部疾病。这种疾病的风险随着年龄的增长而增加,患者的肺部显示出僵尸细胞的迹象。

After three weeks of treatment, patients who took part in the experiment improved on some measures of physical health, like walking speed. Other measures did not show improvement.

经过三周的治疗,参与实验的患者在一些身体健康指标上有所改善,比如行走速度。其它指标没有显示出有改善迹象。

Gregory Cosgrove is a doctor and chief medical officer of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. He was not involved in the study. He noted that, overall, the results are a good sign.

格雷戈里·科斯格罗夫是一名医生,也是肺纤维化基金会的首席医疗官。他没有参与这项研究。他指出,总的来说,研究结果是一个好迹象。

It really raises enthusiasm to proceed with the more rigorous studies, Cosgrove said.

科斯格罗夫表示:“确实激发了人们继续进行更严格缜密的研究的热情。”

The field of zombie cell research is still young. But Kirkland estimates at least 12 companies have formed or launched efforts to study treatments.

僵尸细胞研究领域还处于初期阶段。但柯克兰德估计,至少已有12家公司组建团队或展开治疗方面的研究。

Laura Niedernhofer is a professor of biochemistry at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She suggested that, in addition to age-related diseases, anti-zombie cell drugs might be useful for treating early aging among cancer survivors. This condition brings on the early appearance of some diseases.

劳拉·尼德霍夫是明尼阿波利斯市明尼苏达大学的生物化学教授。她认为,除了与年龄有关的疾病之外,抗僵尸细胞药物可能对治疗癌症幸存者的早期衰老很有用。从癌症中幸存后的早衰会导致一些疾病的早期症状。

Niedernhofer said the goal is not to prevent damaged cells from turning into zombies, because they may become cancerous instead. The aim is to kill cells that have already changed, or to limit the harm they do.

尼德霍夫表示,我们的目标不是防止受损细胞变成僵尸细胞,因为它们可能会癌变;我们的目标是杀死已经发生变化的细胞,或者限制它们的危害。

And what about giving them to healthy people who want to prevent aging? That is possible but a long way off, after studies have established that the drugs are safe enough, Niedernhofer said.

而可否将抗僵尸细胞给那些想要预防衰老的健康人群呢?尼德霍夫表示,这是可能的,但在研究确定这些药物足够安全之前,还有很长的路要走。

Kirkland added, "We may not get there."

柯克兰德补充道:“我们可能实现不了这一点。”

In any case, experts do support the research so far. George Kuchel, a doctor with the University of Connecticut Center on Aging in Farmington, found the results very interesting.

但无论如何,到目前为止,专家们确实支持这项研究。位于法明顿的康涅狄格大学衰老研究中心的医生乔治·库切尔发现这个结果非常有趣。

Nir Barzilai is a researcher of aging at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He believes treating zombie cells will play a part in the overall effort to delay, stop and maybe even undo aging.

尼尔·巴兹莱是纽约阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦医学院的一名研究衰老问题的研究员。他认为,治疗僵尸细胞将在延缓、停止甚至逆转衰老的整体努力中发挥作用。

I'm Bryan Lynn.

我是布莱恩·林恩。

小e英语Jewel翻译!

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