Super Genius DNA-Chapter 97: Cellicure (8)
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Chapter 97: Cellicure (8)
All the drugs that were administered to Lee Yoon-Ah now were strong painkillers like morphine. None of the existing anticancer drugs worked, and there were no other treatment options. It could be said that current medicine had given up on them, but from the perspective of a nine-year-old, it was nice because she didn’t have to get any more painful anticancer drugs. She couldn’t go around alone because she was in pretty bad condition, but she was quite cheerful, which was fitting for her age.
Lee Yoon-Ah was into this YouTube channel that a nine-year-old elementary student, who was the same age as her, had. Now, she was watching a video of them going to an amusement park.
“I want to go here when I’m all better,” Lee Yoon-Ah said.
“Mhm...” Kim Hyo-Jin replied weakly while patting her on the shoulder.
That was when Young-Joon, Jacob, Professor Kim Chun-Jung, and the nurses came in.
“We’re going to draw some blood,” said Kim Chun-Jung.
She had already told Kim Hyo-Jin the situation that the liver cancer had metastasized to the pelvic bone and that there was no way to treat the cancer cells in the bone as of right now. She had also told him that Young-Joon had stopped the Cellicure treatment and was preparing a new technology called chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy.
“Can we talk outside for a moment?”
Sniffling, Kim Hyo-Jin took the medical team, Young-Joon, and Jacob outside. 𝑓𝓇ℯℯ𝓌ℯ𝑏𝑛𝘰𝑣ℯ𝘭.𝘤𝘰𝘮
“I’m thinking of stopping treatment now,” she said.
“Stopping treatment?” Kim Chun-Jung asked in surprise.
“... Yoon-Ah wants to go to the amusement park... She was always in the hospital. We can stop now, and I can take her to the amusement park, go play by the river...”
Kim Hyo-Jin wiped away her tears. After a short moment of heavy silence, Kim Chun-Jung spoke.
“As your doctor, I respect the guardian’s wishes first and foremost. But you have Doctor Ryu... You know the effects of what he has given to the medical community, right?”
“Of course, I don’t know as much as you, but I studied a lot about cancer while looking after my daughter. I memorized names of difficult drugs and I know papers, too. I know about the chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy... It takes three months to prepare it for use,” Kim Hyo-Jin said. “Doctor Ryu, be honest. What is the probability that my child will live with that technology?”
“Because Lee Yoon-Ah’s case is very unique, we can’t calculate the probability because we don’t have any clinical data,” Young-Joon said.
Kim Hyo-Jin clenched her eyes shut. She tried her best to smile.
“Thank you. Thank you for working so hard. I’ll take my baby and get discharged.”
“Three weeks,” Young-Joon said. “I will get the treatment ready in three weeks.”
The chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy: it was a technology with the largest potential among existing cancer treatments. The technology extracted the patient’s immune cells, then gave them a machine gun to obliterate the cancer cells. The immune cells that were supplied with the best weapon would immediately wipe out the cancer cell as soon as they returned to the body and cure the patient.
“But it isn’t very effective against solid tumors. So, we are going to eliminate the myeloma in the bones and the cancer cells that are floating around in the blood with chimera immunotherapy, and then we’re going to treat the liver cancer with Cellicure. I’m planning to finish this in five weeks, and I have set this as the final deadline. I cut off the time required for the chimeric immunotherapy preparation at three weeks,” said Young-Joon.
“... Three weeks... I-Is that possible?” Kim Hyo-Jin asked like she couldn’t believe it.
This technology cost nearly four hundred million won for one round of treatment. As astronomically high as the price was, it took a very long time to design and create the treatment. The reason was that it was very difficult to grow immune cells, and it was also very hard to manipulate genes. Three months was the minimum amount of time required.
“Three weeks...?” Kim Hyo-Jin mumbled in hesitation.
“I have stem cell and Cas9 technology,” Young-Joon said.
“...” freewe bnovel .com
“We can grow immune cells and manipulate genes a dozen times more effectively than what Conson & Colson used to do. We can make it much faster, although we are still racing against the clock.”
“Excuse me...” Jacob, who came with Young-Joon, interrupted carefully as he glanced at everyone. In English, he said to Young-Joon, “Sir, it seems pretty serious right now; what’s going on? I haven’t learnt a lot of Korean yet.”
“It will end soon. I will explain it to you later,” replied Young-Joon briefly. Then, he turned to Kim Hyo-Jin again.
“This scientist right here is one of the best technicians at A-Bio. He graduated early from Caltech in bioengineering and published a paper in Cell, one of the best scientific journals, from a Nobel Prize recipient’s lab. He is one of the young scientists in the spotlight of the world.”
“We have already succeeded in bone marrow regeneration, and we have also manipulated genes with Cas9 when we cured HIV. Carpentier, a Nobel Prize recipient, Jacob, and I will do the experiments ourselves.”
“We promise to cure Lee Yoon-Ah by the deadline. Please have hope one last time.”
* * *
After a week at A-Bio...
“Give me the media,” said Young-Joon.
Media referred to an animal cell culture medium. Jacob handed Young-Joon the RPMI culture medium.
They had dedifferentiated Lee Yoon-Ah’s cells into stem cells, and Young-Joon was now differentiating it into T-cells, a type of bone marrow.
Carpentier and Jacob were helping him; they were the first people to complete a technology that developed hematopoietic cells, which create blood in the bone marrow. This couldn’t be done simply with knowledge and required practical skills and excellent technique. Young-Joon had never made hematopoietic cells before, but he was skilled in cell experimentation. Also, he had Rosaline’s senses left in his fingertips. He didn’t have the precision to excite exactly 1.17 million nerve cells in his left hand, but he could mimic it.
Young-Joon held the flask lid, which spun exactly twelve and a half times, with his left pointer finger and thumb, then took out the culture medium and cell with a pipette-aid.
“Please give me the SFG-1928z,” said Young-Joon.
It was a type of retrovirus. It was used to put specific genes into a cell. He received the designed virus solution from Carpentier and infected the stem cells with it. He had already treated it with the virus that differentiated it into immune cells. The only thing left to do was manipulate a few genes with Cas9. He was going to add Cas9 in the form of a protein complex when gene expression stabilized after the virus fully entered and the cell condition improved.
An additional five days were spent, and Young-Joon’s face became more and more thin.
“Sir, aren’t you going to shave?” asked Yoo Song-Mi when she found Young-Joon collapsed on the sofa in his office like a corpse in the morning.
“I have no time to. I’m showering as fast as I can in the office shower as well.”
“I’m concerned about this more than anything else I have invented.”
Young-Joon went back to the lab. This time, he had to use a piece of equipment called a flow cytometer and only select the cells that were in the desired condition in the most optimal state.
Young-Joon ran the flow cytometer he bought before and extracted cells with fluorescence. Of the ten million cells from the culture that he started with, only one hundred thousand were left. As there may not be enough cells to cure the patient, he had to put in cell stocks, which was in the intermediate stage, to make more of the treatment.
‘I guess three weeks is still tight even when I have good technology.’
Young-Joon had set the deadline even shorter on purpose as Lee Yoon-Ah’s treatment was a race against the clock. Removing cancer cells from the bone marrow wasn’t the end; the real enemy was liver cancer.
Since chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy wasn’t very effective on solid cancers like liver cancer, it would only be able to treat the blood cancer and myeloma in the pelvis. Having to use Cellicure afterwards meant that the liver cancer treatment was delayed for that long.
That was what Young-Joon was worried about, as her liver was already completely taken over by cancer cells.
When Young-Joon was pushing himself, Jacob, and Carpentier and conducting the experiments, Song Ji-Hyun came to visit A-Bio.
* * *
“Doctor Ryu, I heard about your treatment strategy. You’re going to get rid of the cancer cells that metastasized to the bone with chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, and then administer Cellicure, right?” “That’s right.”
“But... If you do that, you may run out of time. The clinical trial patient’s liver is barely performing normally right now. We need to administer Cellicure quickly.”
“I agree with you, so I am working day and night.”
Song Ji-Hyun could tell even if he didn’t say it. Looking at his thin face, his grown-out stubble, and greasy hair, it was clear that he probably only washed once every two to three days.
“Do you get some sleep...?” Song Ji-Hyun asked like she was worried.
“I sleep a little sometimes.”
“... Administer Cellicure right now.”
“We can’t. It will cause problems in the pelvis.”
“I know. But at this rate...”
Song Ji-Hyun sighed.
“It would be nice if we could send Cellicure only to the liver. Then, we could cure her by treating the liver cancer without any problems happening in the pelvis and treating the bone metastasis with the chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy.”
“I wish,” Young-Joon replied.
“But it won’t be easy. It really is depressing. Cancer is so hard,” Song Ji-Hyun said like it was painful.
“Doctor Ryu, I thought it would work if we attached a receptor that recognized things on the surface of cancer cells on the exosome. What if we use it without the exosome coating at all? I think the chances of it moving to the pelvic bone would decrease.”
“It will still go there eventually. We have to make it so that Cellicure only enters the liver cells.”
“... Even the notorious pancreatic cancer has been successful in clinical trials, but I didn’t know that liver cancer would be so difficult.”
Young-Joon’s eyes suddenly shone.
“Yes... You developed it. A pancreatic cancer cure.”
“Yes. Why didn’t I think of that?”
“Pardon?” “The pancreatic cancer cure used the bornavirus. It’s a virus that only infects pancreatic cells. We just have to use that same strategy in the exosome, right? We already know a very famous virus that only infects liver cells.”
“... Hepatitis...?” Song Ji-Hyun said, frozen.
“It’s the virus that causes hepatitis. Separate the materials on the shell of the hepatitis E virus and mix it with the exosome. Then, it won’t be able to infect healthy liver cells, but make it so that Cellicure only goes to the liver.”
Young-Joon jumped up from his seat. He went straight to the computer and searched up the virus’ information on Google.
[Hepatitis E virus]
Watching the structural diagram of the virus come up, Young-Joon called A-Gen’s Research Support Center.
“Could I get the hepatitis virus?” he asked.
—Do you need the live form of the bacteria?
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the DNA form or the live virus as long as it comes out quickly. Give me anything.”
* * *
Song Ji-Hyun, who could be said to be the greatest expert in the world about capsule coating of drugs, exosome creation, and the drug form of Cellicure, was responsible for hepatitis. She took the hepatitis virus DNA she received from Young-Joon and began staying up as soon as she returned to Celligener.
Young-Joon, who she hadn’t seen for a long time, looked pretty bad. She could tell that he was fully concentrating on this clinical trial. As the developer of Cellicure and one of the managers of this clinical trial, Song Ji-Hyun was a little ashamed.
‘I have to work on this as hard as Doctor Ryu.”
Young-Joon was also the one who came up with the idea that could send Cellicure only to liver cancer. She had to be able to complete this at the least in order to be able to look him in the eye.
This case wasn’t just the clinical trial of a new drug or the treatment of a young child to Young-Joon; Song Ji-Hyun felt like she knew what he was feeling right now.
‘Doctor Ryu said that his youngest sister died of pediatric liver cancer.’
That was probably a reason why he was holding onto this so desperately. She couldn’t even predict what kind of shock and pain this genius would receive if he failed at treating Lee Yoon-Ah.
Song Ji-Hyun wanted to protect Young-Joon. It was time to advance Cellicure one step further for him, who she had gotten help from numerous times. Young-Joon would complete the chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy...
‘And I will finish Cellicure and meet him on the day of the clinical trial treatment.’
The structure of the hepatitis virus was relatively well known. Song Ji-Hyun focused on the structure known as HEV-2, one of the receptors that existed on the surface of the virus shell. It corresponded to the second open reading frame in the gene of the virus. After separating this gene, she synthesized the biomaterial through in vitro translation and coated it on the exosome. For the week that the experiment was being conducted, her face also started becoming thin like Young-Joon.
* * *
On the day the new drug was to be administered, Young-Joon showed up to Sunyoo Hospital with a brown bottle, which contained the purified chimeric immunotherapy treatment, and Song Ji-Hyun showed up with a small vial, which contained Cellicure. Both were products that had been refined at the GMP facility at A-Gen.
Everyone was nervous.
“We will begin.”
Kim Chun-Jung injected both drugs into Lee Yoon-Ah’s veins.