New Terms & Usages 《新語・新用法紹介》


No.32 "biochip"

「バイオチップ」。"gene chips"と呼ぶ人もいるようだ。今のところ(2000/10/23)、インターネットで検索してもほとんど引っかからない語。以下で簡単に紹介するように、日常的に耳にすることになりそう語である。

Biochips, which were first popularized by Santa Clara's Affymetrix Inc. in the mid-1990s, show how high tech and biotech have worked together to translate DNA's chemical code into electronic data that can be studied and stored.


(Tech Giants Jumping Into Biotech by Tom Abate from San Fancisco Chronicle, Monday, October 9, 2000)

… the biochips, a sliver of glass or silicon covered with bits of DNA. When a specimen of diseased tissue is dropped on a biochip, the device pinpoints the active genes, the first critical step toward diagnosis and treatment.(ibid.)



But only a few hundred to a few thousand genes are active in any given cell at any given time. The rest are dormant.(ibid.)



The holy grail of medicine is to figure out which genes should be active to keep cells healthy and to detect the inappropriate gene activity that makes cells sick.(ibid.)


Front Line Strategic Management, a Foster City firm that tracks biochips, put the worldwide market for the chips and related equipment at just $145 million in 1999. This year it expects the market to be worth $527 million. In five years, it projects $4 billion in annual sales. (ibid.)

「バイオチップ(の市場性)を追跡しているFoster Cityにある会社、Front Line Strategic Management社は、1999年のバイオチップと関連装置の世界的市場規模をちょうど1億4500万ドルとした。今年、同社は市場規模を5億2700万ドル相当と予想している。同社による見積もりでは、5年後の年間売上は40億ドルである。」

最後に、革新的成果は合衆国でも始めはこんな憂き目に遭っていたという話し。アフィメトリックス社の創立者にして会長、Stephen Fodorの思い出話である。
"In the early '90s, I would go places and give presentations on this stuff and people would think I was nuts," said Affymetrix founder and Chairman Stephen Fodor (ibid.)


(注)go places「あちらこちらに行く」


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