我不是斗战胜佛,我是一只承载着生育希望的猕猴……

 

对于身患癌症的孩子来说,能够生存下来已属不易,而化疗放疗对生殖系统的损伤导致的终身不孕不育,则是对孩子的又一打击……

不过,美国的科学家们最新的研究成果表明,他们或许已经找到了帮助患癌男童保持生育力的方法,而帮助他们找到这种方法的是一只名为格雷蒂 ( Grady ) 的雌性恒河猴宝宝。

▲ 11 个月大的格雷蒂 ( by Oregon Health and Science University via BBC )

▲ " 猴宝宝格雷蒂 " 给了患癌男童生殖的希望 ( via BBC )

据 BBC 报道,癌症化疗和放疗可损伤男孩尚未发育的睾丸,造成三分之一的男性癌症患儿幸存者成年后终身不孕不育。

此前,对于成年女性、未发育的女孩,以及成年男性,均已经找到了帮助他们保持生育力的方法。

Women and girls can have eggs or ovaries frozen in order to have children after their cancer therapy is over.

成年女性或未发育的女孩,可以在癌症治疗前,先冷冻卵子或卵巢,等癌症康复后再生育。

Adult men can have a sperm sample frozen, but this is not an option for boys who have not gone through puberty.

成年男性,也可以通过事先冷冻他们的精子,来达到生育目的。但这种方法不适用于还未经历青春期的男童。

▲ 'Baby Grady' gives fertility hope to boys with cancer ( via BBC )

不过,格雷蒂是第一只通过它父亲被冷冻的睾丸而出生的灵长类动物。而它父亲睾丸被冷冻前,尚未经历青春期。格雷蒂的成功出世为科学家们解决患癌男童如何保持生育力的难题打开了一扇门。

格雷蒂是如何出生的?

匹兹堡大学和美国国立儿童健康与人类发育研究所的科学家们用 5 只雄性恒河猴作为实验对象。

The animals had not started puberty so their testes were not yet sperm-making factories.

这些动物还未进入青春期,因此,它们的睾丸并不产生精子。

Then the researchers removed a testicle from each monkey, cut it up into small pieces and put the fragments on ice to cryopreserve them.

研究者们从每只猴子体内取出一个睾丸,将其切片,冷冻保存。

Around half a year later the monkeys were made infertile.

大约半年后,这些猴子被人为绝育。

Then fragments of their preserved testes were thawed and were grafted underneath the monkey's skin.

然后,这些猴子被冷冻保存的睾丸组织,先经过解冻,再移植回猴子体内。

As the animals went through puberty, the testicular tissue matured and grew; when scientists looked inside "we found that there were sperm", said Prof Kyle Orwig, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

当猴子经历青春期时,它们的睾丸组织成熟并生长了。科学家们通过观察在睾丸中发现了精子,匹兹堡大学医学院凯尔⋅奥维格教授说道。

This sperm was used to fertilise an egg and baby girl Grady was the result.

这些精子使一个卵子受精,然后就有了格雷蒂。

▲ 12 周大的格雷蒂 ( by Oregon Health and Science University via BBC )

不过,这种方法运用于人类之前还有许多问题需要解决。

这种方法效果如何?

在这些猕猴进入青春期后,超过 80% 的被移植回猕猴体内的睾丸组织移植物开始产生精子。

The researchers then fertilised 138 eggs using a technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI.

随后,研究者们使用一种名为卵胞浆内单精子显微注射的技术,使 138 个卵子受精。

Around four in 10 fertilised eggs developed into early stage embryos.

大约 40% 的受精卵发育成了早期胚胎。

A total of 11 embryos were implanted into female macaques, which resulted in one pregnancy and one healthy baby.

( 研究人员 ) 将总共 11 个胚胎分别植入雌性恒河猴子宫中,结果有一只恒河猴成功怀孕并产下一只健康的猴宝宝。

这种方法可以用于人类吗?

科学家们认为,距离这种方法运用于人类已经不远了。

Prof Orwig said: "Having succeeded to produce a live-born and healthy baby, we feel that this is a technology that is ready for the human clinic."

奥维格教授说:" 成功孕育出存活、健康的宝宝,使我们认为这种技术已经为人类临床治疗做好了准备 "。

But other researchers say they would like to see more evidence before it is tried on humans for the first time.

但其他一些研究者说,他们希望在首次用于人类试验之前,看到更多 ( 这种方法有效性的 ) 证明。

这种方法安全吗?

这种方法最大的风险在于,它是否会让患儿再次患癌。

If any cancerous material was hidden inside the testes, then it too would be frozen and reintroduced to the child's body along with the graft.

假如有任何癌症物质隐藏在睾丸中,那它也会被冷冻,并随着被移植回儿童体内的睾丸组织一同重新进入患儿体内。

Cancers of the blood - like leukaemia and lymphoma - as well as testicular cancer, would be problematic.

血液性的癌症——像白血病和淋巴瘤——以及睾丸癌,也是问题。

Doctors would also want to be sure that the process did not affect the genetic material packaged up inside the sperm.

医生还希望确保该过程不会影响精子内部的遗传物质。

专家们怎么看?

Dr Susan Taymans, from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, told the BBC: "I think it is very significant.

美国国立儿童健康与人类发育研究所的苏珊⋅泰曼博士告诉 BBC," 我认为这是非常重大的研究成果 "。

"It is a very exciting proof of principle that this really can work, but there's a few more things I'd like to see.

" 它是一项激动人心的证明,证明这个原理行之有效,但我还想看到更多。"

"This is one live healthy baby, which is fantastic, but I think we'd like to see a couple more."

" 这是一只活的、健康的猴宝宝,但我觉得,我们还想看到更多。"

Allan Pacey, professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield, said: "This is a really excellent study, which is a great step forward, but it is important to remember that before we could attempt to use it in humans, further research would be needed to show that it is safe and that it works in the same kind of way.

谢菲尔德大学男科教授艾伦⋅佩西说:" 这真是一项了不起的研究,向前迈进了一大步,但重要的是要记住,在我们试图将它运用于人类之前,需要进一步的研究来证明它的安全性,以及它的有效性。"

"This, I think, is still a number of years away."

" 我认为这还需要好几年。"

整合:Du Qiongfang

原文:BBC

图 / 题图:BBC

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