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Chapter 8

Plague Doctor
     Chapter 8: Experiments With The Foreign Medicine

    Larbre Studio  Larbre Studio

    Zhang Lin took a lifting cylinder out of the liquid nitrogen tank and extracted a cryopreservation tube from the lifting cylinder. He then carefully placed the lifting cylinder back inside, as there were still cryogenic tubes for many other cells in the lifting cylinder. After Zhang Lin sealed the lid of the liquid nitrogen tank again, he started a series of patient and meticulous operations.

    He first placed the cryopreservation tube in a water bath and quickly thawed it with a hot water bath of 37°C, before going to the centrifuge and centrifugation for five minutes. Next, he sat down at the ultra-clean bench and turned the opening of the centrifuge tube to the alcohol lamp. He carefully heated and sterilised the tube. Following that, he discarded the waste liquid, added a fresh cultured medium with a pipette, and repeatedly mixed the solution.

    Gu Jun had been watching beside him seriously the entire time. Every time he had questions, he directed them to Brother Zhang and managed to gain a lot of new knowledge.

    For example, the speed control of the rotation of the centrifuge, the suction and discharge control of the pipette, etc. Even a little carelessness in these resuscitation operations would affect the cell survival and proliferation rate.

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    Finally, Zhang Lin poured the cell suspension into a petri dish and added an appropriate amount of the cultured solution. He then placed it into a cell culture incubator and set it at 37°C and 5% CO2.

    "Wait for at least two days." Zhang Lin took off his mask and pushed his glasses. "I recommend that you culture it for a week so that the tumour formation rate would be guaranteed."

    "I will try the first batch after two days." Gu Jun shrugged. There was no other option. Time was simply not on his side. The system showed that his symptoms would worsen after 30 days. He said, "Brother, let's go out for a meal tonight? My treat."

    

    "Forget it." Zhang Lin waved him off. "I still have to feed the mice at night. It'll be my treat then."

    1

    ***

    Gu Jun spent the next two days on campus. Other than getting together with friends and reminiscing about the past, he was only doing two things. First was to read up on books to prepare for his remedial tests. If he did not die then have to repeat the grade, it would prove to be quite troublesome as well. The second was to go to the laboratory every day to take care of the cells and change the culture medium.

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    On the morning of the third day, Zhang Lin personally came to observe. He mentioned that the cells had barely grown, and he helped with the subculture and preparation of cell suspensions.

    On the other hand, Gu Jun went to the Experimental Animal Centre of the school. It was actually a large base for breeding and was located a few hundred meters outside the school park.

    He bought five naked mice. Each costing over one hundred yuan, which was rather expensive. Fortunately, he still had 20,000 yuan in deposits, but it would not last him for long.

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    When money is needed, one could only lament not having enough. Gu Jun really regretted donating the money so early. After all, he was still alive, yet his money was gone.

    6

    Ahem. Each of these naked mice was about the same size as two or three fingers and had no hair. Just as its name suggested. They were packed inside a sterile box. Once they come into contact with the external bacteria environment, they could quickly become infected and die of disease. Therefore, the usual breeding and experiment processes need to be performed in an isolated environment.

    Eastern University's isolation environment laboratories were located in the Experimental Animal Research Centre. This five-story yellow brick building was next to the laboratory building.

    Gu Jun and Zhang Lin met in the lobby on the first floor of the research centre and booked an hour-long session for the use of a small naked mouse room. This was a small room of only 21 square meters. It was divided into a front room and a rear room. The front room had a test bench and instruments. Whereas, the rear room is a breeding room.

    Before entering, all their belongings and their bodies had to be strictly sterilised by ultraviolet sterilisation. The two set foot in the naked mouse room with a full-body gear of protective suit, masks, gloves, foot covers, and other protective equipment.

    Soon after in the anterior laboratory bench, Gu Jun marked the five naked mice by punching holes in their ears and proceeded to inject them with tumour cells subcutaneously on the right side of the buttocks.

    Zhang Lin was responsible for assisting him. These cells could infiltrate the human body and theoretically form tumours inside. Seeing that Tycoon Jun was being so enthusiastic about the naked mice, he was now certain that this little brother was not plotting murder.

    After all five naked mice were injected, Gu Jun placed them inside a feeding cage. What comes after was to observe if they could form tumours.

    "Brother, thank you very much," Gu Jun thanked Brother Zhang. After all, it would not have been possible for the experiment to run so smoothly without his help.

    "The old Chinese Medicine doctor that you mentioned." Zhang Lin still had a wary expression on his face. "Are you sure he isn't a conman?"

    ***

    In the following week, Gu Jun continued his previous daily routine, except that he now went to the naked mouse room daily to check on the progress of the caged naked mice. Their rearing was taken care of by the management of the naked mouse room.

    He only completed three NORMAL missions this week as he was unable to fulfil the requirements of "patients requiring treatment". Although the hospital was nearby, he was not a certified doctor yet. The tasks he completed were all related to medical procedures. He had already gotten his hands on five boxes of pills, and the Hands of Dexterity had progressed but still was in the first tier (3000/5000 Proficiency).

    On the seventh day, Gu Jun once again went into the naked mouse room with aseptic equipment and examined the naked mice individually.

    None of the mice had died. A soybean-like round tumour had grown under the skin on the right side of No 1's buttocks. Measurements had shown that the diameter was 0.5 cm. No 3 and No 4 also had visible protrusions, with diameters of 0.3 cm and 0.5 cm respectively, while No 2 and No 5 still showed no signs of tumour formation.

    At this point, he can confirm that out of the five naked mice, three had formed tumours.

    Gu Jun divided two tumour-forming naked mice as Group A and one tumour-forming naked mouse as Group B. Whereas the two naked mice, which had no tumours forming, was split into Group C and Group D respectively. He then went to the Animal Centre to buy 10 additional healthy naked mice and divided them into two. The 5 of them comprised Group E, and the other 5 split into Group F. Groups A, C, and E would receive the same dosage of the "foreign medicine" (the name he came up with) daily. At the same time, Groups B, D, and F would not be given any medications and were the control group.

    All in all, there were three sets: tumour-forming naked mice, non-tumour-forming naked mice, and healthy naked mice. Each set of groups had a group prescribed with the "foreign medicine", and one group without medication.

    At this point, six cages had been prepared on the experiment table, and the naked mice squeaked noisily, creating a din.

    Gu Jun tinkered with 25 isotonic capsules. Since the system description mentioned that one box could extend one's lifespan by five days, that should mean that one capsule is equivalent to one day of lifespan since there are five capsules inside a box. This was the dosage for an average human adult, and these naked mice weighed below 20g on average. If they had to be fed one capsule a day as well, then he would have to make some sacrifices.

    He poured out all the medicinal powder in a single capsule and weighed the dose. He then converted the weight of the naked mouse to his own weight to figure out the recommended dosage, formulated a solution, and diluted it in proportion.

    3

    Soon, Gu Jun held a syringe filled with the solution in one hand, grasped a fixed healthy naked mouse in the other, and started the first experiment of intragastric administration.

    "Squeak squeak squeak." The naked mouse struggled a little, but the poor thing was still injected by his needle, and thus left its contribution to medicinal studies.

    At this moment, Gu Jun's heartbeat started beating a little faster, and his eyes stared unblinking at the naked mouse.

    He had not tested the toxicity of the "foreign medicine" until this moment. If it dies suddenly, then perhaps this experiment would lose all its meaning. Now he stared at the clock. 5 minutes, then 10 minutes...

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    Almost half an hour passed, and the naked mouse still had not shown any abnormalities.

    It seems that there is no apparent toxicity in the "foreign medicines". Gu Junsong breathed out a sigh of relief. "I still need to observe for slow-acting toxins, though."

    He then continued to administer the solution to the next naked mouse. After taking ten minutes to complete the administration to the other seven naked mice in the other three groups that required medication, he continued observing for an additional hour. None of them displayed any abnormal response. They were still able to cry out loudly and ingest food and water.

    "Dear mice friends, please live," Gu Jun murmured, pressing down on his aching head. His condition was clearly worsening. "Please make it. I'm begging you."

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    ***

    On the second and third day, Gu Jun continued to come to the naked mouse room daily.

    The tumours in the naked mice without medication in Group B had swelled from 0.3 cm to 0.6 cm, while their body weight and mental state had no visible change. However, the size of their tumours remained the same for Group A mice with administration two days later. It was still maintaining 0.5 cm.

    Gu Jun knew the implications of these results: the "foreign medicine" really worked! These capsules can significantly inhibit tumour growth.

    On the other hand, the other naked mice which were administered the medication proceeded as usual. This also meant that the "foreign medicine" seems to have no adverse effects and does not damage the body's functions.

    "Maybe, I can really survive this time?" Gu Jun thought to himself. Although uneasiness still haunted his heart, a new hope lit at the same time.

    The fourth day, the fifth day... in the blink of an eye, a week had passed.

    The tumour in the naked mice of Group B had grown to a size of 1.5cm. The colossal tumour contrasted sharply with its thin body. It began to lose weight and seemed to have lost its spirit. However, the two naked mice in Group A continued to be in a stable condition, and all the administered naked mice were surviving well. There was practically no difference from the mice set as the control group.

    9

    He had to say that the results obtained from this experiment were simply too satisfying.

    The effects of the drug written in foreign language were simply better than the top small-molecule tumour-targeting medicines currently on the market.

    3

    However, Gu Jun also knows that the adverse reactions of the "foreign medicine" cannot be completely ruled out yet. The results of the experiment only proved that there were no short-term side effects. Plus, this was an experiment conducted on animals. There were specific essential differences from human clinical trials.

    1

    However, the results of this experiment were already well worth it for him to risk it.

    After writing his will in the afternoon of that very day, Gu Jun arrived at the waiting room of the emergency department at the affiliated hospital of Eastern University. Surprisingly, he found a seat on a waiting bench. The surroundings were crowded with patients and their family members, most of which were crying children and their comforting parents. Nurses walked in a hurry while pushing rescue beds.

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    Amongst the noisy bustle, the emergency department broadcast continued to call out patient numbers, "No 182, Chen Ziyang. No 183, Wang Yuxuan. No 184, Huang Zixuan..."

    Heaving a sigh, Gu Jun resolutely threw a capsule of "foreign medicine" into his mouth, and took a sip of mineral water to swallow it.

    "Bring it." He calmly looked at the emergency sign on the wall over at a nearby wall. "If there's any toxic reaction, bring it all at once!"