Russian Academy of Medical Sciences

Moscow, Russia

Russian Academy of Medical Sciences

Moscow, Russia

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News Article | June 27, 2017
Site: www.sciencemag.org

The Russian government has taken further steps to tighten its grip on the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) in Moscow. On 23 June, the State Duma—one of the two chambers of the Russian parliament—passed the first draft of a new law that would give President Vladimir Putin the final say in the elections for RAS's presidency. The bill introduces three main changes. The list of candidates must from now on be approved by the government, and can have not more than three names; a candidate can be elected by winning more than 50% of the vote, instead of the two-thirds needed until now; and the newly elected academy president must be approved by the Russian president. Elections for a new RAS president were supposed to take place last March but were postponed after all three candidates withdrew for reasons that have not been announced. RAS President Vladimir Fortov stepped down in March, and an acting president, Valery Kozlov, took over. The change to the election procedure is another step in a series of reforms at RAS. In 2013, the government established the Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations to manage the property of RAS and other research institutions; it also forced a merger of RAS with the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The government's professed motive is to make the academy's work more efficient. Among the Duma members who introduced the legislation were members of the academy, says Mikhail Gelfand, deputy director of the RAS Kharkevich Institute for Information Transmission Problems. One of them was Gennady Onishchenko, who has become widely known for recommending bans on food products from countries that had offended the Russian leadership during his time as chief sanitary inspector. During the parliamentary debate, Onishchenko argued that in the Soviet era, RAS was always told which candidates the government preferred. "No one was annoyed by that," he said. Before the debate in the Duma, Fortov and other academicians met twice with Putin behind closed doors to discuss the changes. Those meetings did not end in decisions, but were just "an exchange of opinions," Fortov told the TASS state news agency. Interfax quoted Kozlov as saying that Putin favored the proposal to have Russia's president approve a new RAS president. The reform proposal has been strongly criticized by the 1st July Club, an informal union of regular and corresponding RAS members named after the day when they first protested in 2013. In a letter to President Putin and members of both chambers of the parliament earlier this month, the group calls the three-candidate limit "absolutely unacceptable." It notes that elections can go forward even if only one candidate has been approved, effectively making the process a "fiction" and replacing it with a presidential appointment. RAS's "scientific level and reputation have been irreparably damaged by the merger with the medical and agronomy academies,” Gelfand says. “It has no muscle for resistance." Russia's parliament is expected to pass the final version of the bill in the coming weeks. If that happens, RAS will hold presidential elections according to the new procedures in the fall.


Bioquark, Inc., (http://www.bioquark.com) a life sciences company focused on the development of novel bio-products for regeneration, disease reversion, and healthy aging, and Moscow based, Lakmus LLC, a diversified investment company with business interests in pharmacies, restaurants, and real estate, announced a multi-disciplinary research collaboration with the FSBI Zakusov Institute of Pharmacology, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences (http://www.academpharm.ru/), and the Pavlov Institute of Physiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (http://www.infran.ru/), to jointly study the pharmacotherapeutic longevity enhancement properties of its combinatorial regenerative biologic candidates. “We are very excited about this continued collaboration with Lakmus,” said Ira S. Pastor, CEO, Bioquark Inc. “The disciplined development of our combinatorial biologic candidates (Bioquantines) for healthy longevity enhancement, represents another important step in our continued evolution as a company focused on a broad range of therapeutic products and services in the regenerative healthcare space.” Throughout the 20th century, natural products formed the basis for a majority of all pharmaceuticals, biologics, and consumer healthcare products used by patients around the globe, generating trillions of dollars of wealth. However, many scientists believe we have only touched the surface with what the natural world, and its range of organisms, which from a health and wellness perspective are much further advanced than human beings, has to teach us. The integration of a complex set of newer research disciplines, including interkingdom signaling, semiochemical communication, and evolutionary biology, as well as significant recent activity in the areas of the microbiome, are highlighting a myriad of new ways that non-human bio-products can affect the human genome for positive transitions in health and wellness dynamics. “Bioquark has spent several years studying the natural ability of many species to turn back biological time in order to maintain health, fitness, and survival, developing a broad understanding of the combinatorial biochemical approaches they use to control nested hierarchies of disease (i.e. gene, cell, tissue, organism, environment),” said Dr. Sergei Paylian, Founder, CSO, and President, Bioquark Inc. “This research initiative is one more step in the path in allowing humans to recapture these capabilities to effectively counter our unfortunate progression into aging, disease and degeneration.” Bioquark Inc. is focused on the development of natural biologic based products, services, and technologies, with the goal of curing a wide range of diseases, as well as effecting complex regeneration. Bioquark is developing both biological pharmaceutical candidates, as well as products for the global consumer health and wellness market segments.


The presentation will also focus on best practices and lessons learned through the implementation of a rapid sterility test method for Apligraf®, a cell-based commercial product from Organogenesis. Apligraf is an FDA-approved Class III medical device indicated for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers and venous leg ulcers. "Ensuring sterility for a cell-based therapy can be challenging as the time required to perform a conventional sterility test may exceed the product's shelf life," said Pitkin. "As companies strive to adopt these new technologies, they must ensure through validation that these new rapid detection technologies are appropriate for their intended use and are capable of maintaining a high level of sterility assurance that is at least equivalent to the conventional 14-day USP sterility method." Pitkin has more than 20 years of experience in the field of biotechnology, including the development of Quality System programs for autologous and allogeneic cellular therapies, biologic/device combination products, and for xenotransplantation.  Pitkin holds a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the Research Institute of Influenza, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, and is Regulatory Affairs certified. About Organogenesis Inc. Headquartered in Canton, Massachusetts, Organogenesis Inc. is a global leader in regenerative medicine, offering a portfolio of bioactive and acellular biomaterials products in advanced wound care and surgical biologics, including orthopedics and spine. Organogenesis' versatile portfolio is designed to treat a variety of patients with repair and regenerative needs. For more information, visit www.organogenesis.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/organogenesis-shares-best-practices-for-rapid-sterility-detection-techniques-for-cell-based-therapies-at-future-cell-therapy-commercialization-summit-300479786.html


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-SA | Phase: Fission-2012-6.0.1 | Award Amount: 1.45M | Year: 2013

The health effects of exposures to fallout from Soviet nuclear weapons testing among the residents living nearby the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan are not well investigated. There are reports with contradicting results coming from the studies conducted on two independent cohorts: historical and new. Both use different control groups and dosimetric methods. The two cohorts have a high probability of including the same individuals. There is a need to investigate possibilities to merge them in order to avoid duplication of efforts and resources for future studies of the health effects in these populations. The main objectives of our feasibility study include: developing and testing mechanisms for identification of cohort members in the two cohorts; identification and testing of data linkage mechanisms; determination of the outcomes that can be studied (cancer and non-cancer diseases); setting up and testing procedures for follow-up; identification of case ascertainment mechanisms and sources, depending on the outcome; characterization and validation of dose assessment methods used in the two cohorts; investigation of the feasibility to collect data on confounding factors; assessing the availability of biological samples and their potential use in the future. The project will bring together scientists from Europe, Kazakhstan and Japan with the aim of developing a proposal for a future prospective full scale epidemiological study to address the dose-effect relationship for both cancer and non-cancer effects from low to moderate chronic doses, if the feasibility is demonstrated. To achieve the overall objective it is proposed to set-up a consortium that have considerable experience in epidemiological studies on populations residing around the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and/or who have been extensively involved in the low dose risk research. The group will include European and international scientists with expertise in epidemiology, dosimetry, radiation biology and clinical medicine. At the end of the project, a detailed report based on the results of the work conducted will be developed, critically reviewed by the External Advisory Board and recommendations for future research needs will be made, if feasible. Other populations exposed to low to moderate dose radiation like in Fukushima or elsewhere can benefit from the outcomes of studying the unique Semipalatinsk cohort and the results will contribute to a better understanding and quantification of radiation risks for low to moderate chronic doses. The proposed project is in line with the Strategic Research Agenda of MELODI.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: Fission-2013-3.3.1 | Award Amount: 1.28M | Year: 2014

The IARC previously led an EU funded project Agenda for Research on Chernobyl Health (ARCH), the objective of which was to recommend a strategic health research agenda following the Chernobyl accident. The ARCH demonstrated that Chernobyl provides a unique opportunity to answer questions about radiation risks. The multidisciplinary group of experts strongly supported the need for well-designed and coordinated long-term studies. The new initiative emphasises the need to build partnerships with the three countries mainly affected, plus Japan, the USA and European countries in order to take the research agenda forward. The purpose is therefore to bring together both key scientific players and funding partners to decide on the research priorities and to seek sustainable funding for those priority areas. Work under this proposal will be divided into five closely integrated work packages (WPs): WP 1: Coordination and overall management WP 2: International collaboration and agreement on research programme 2.1: Setting up an International network of research institutes committed to long-term research on Chernobyl 2.2: Development of Chernobyl Research Programme and timetable WP 3: Assessment of Chernobyl research infrastructures 3.1: Evaluation of the cohorts of exposed populations suitable to form Chernobyl Life-span cohorts 3.2: Inventory of dosimetric approaches and existing databases 3.3: Inventory of stored biological samples WP 4: International collaboration on proposing funding mechanism WP 5: Agreement on coordinating structure and setting-up research framework The CO-CHER project has a potential to develop a sustainable plan for research into the health effects of the Chernobyl accident with optimal use of available resources. It is completely in line with the MELODI initiative for integrated, long term effort in low dose risk research. The coordination action will also open new collaborations outside existing European networks.


Bazanova O.M.,Russian Academy of Medical Sciences | Vernon D.,Canterbury Christ Church University
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews | Year: 2014

Exploring EEG alpha oscillations has generated considerable interest, in particular with regards to the role they play in cognitive, psychomotor, psycho-emotional and physiological aspects of human life. However, there is no clearly agreed upon definition of what constitutes 'alpha activity' or which of the many indices should be used to characterize it.To address these issues this review attempts to delineate EEG alpha-activity, its physical, molecular and morphological nature, and examine the following indices: (1) the individual alpha peak frequency; (2) activation magnitude, as measured by alpha amplitude suppression across the individual alpha bandwidth in response to eyes opening, and (3) alpha "auto-rhythmicity" indices: which include intra-spindle amplitude variability, spindle length and steepness.Throughout, the article offers a number of suggestions regarding the mechanism(s) of alpha activity related to inter and intra-individual variability. In addition, it provides some insights into the various psychophysiological indices of alpha activity and highlights their role in optimal functioning and behavior. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Knyazev G.G.,Russian Academy of Medical Sciences
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2013

Self-referential processing has been principally investigated using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). However, understanding of the brain functioning is not possible without careful comparison of the evidence coming from different methodological domains. This paper aims to review electroencephalographic (EEG) studies of self-referential processing and to evaluate how they correspond, complement, or contradict the existing fMRI evidence. There are potentially two approaches to the study of EEG correlates of self-referential processing. Firstly, because simultaneous registration of EEG and fMRI has become possible, the degree of overlap between these two signals in brain regions related to self-referential processing could be determined. Second and more direct approach would be the study of EEG correlates of self-referential processing per se. In this review, I discuss studies, which employed both these approaches and show that in line with fMRI evidence, EEG correlates of self-referential processing are most frequently found in brain regions overlapping with the default network, particularly in the medial prefrontal cortex. In the time domain, the discrimination of self- and others-related information is mostly associated with the P300 ERP component, but sometimes is observed even earlier. In the frequency domain, different frequency oscillations have been shown to contribute to self-referential processing, with spontaneous self-referential mentation being mostly associated with the alpha frequency band. © 2013 Knyazev.


Krylov V.N.,Russian Academy of Medical Sciences
Advances in Virus Research | Year: 2014

Bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, being opportunistic pathogens, are the major cause of nosocomial infections and, in some cases, the primary cause of death. They are virtually untreatable with currently known antibiotics. Phage therapy is considered as one of the possible approaches to the treatment of P. aeruginosa infections. Difficulties in the implementation of phage therapy in medical practice are related, for example, to the insufficient number and diversity of virulent phages that are active against P. aeruginosa. Results of interaction of therapeutic phages with bacteria in different conditions and environments are studied insufficiently. A little is known about possible interactions of therapeutic phages with resident prophages and plasmids in clinical strains in the foci of infections. This chapter highlights the different approaches to solving these problems and possible ways to expand the diversity of therapeutic P. aeruginosa phages and organizational arrangements (as banks of phages) to ensure long-term use of phages in the treatment of P. aeruginosa infections. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Knyazev G.G.,Russian Academy of Medical Sciences
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2013

Recent studies show that fronto-posterior electroencephalogram (EEG) spectral power distribution is associated with personality. Specifically, extraversion is associated with an increase of spectral power in posterior cortical regions that overlap with the posterior default mode network (DMN) hub and a decrease of spectral power in anterior regions that overlap with the anterior DMN hub. Although there is evidence that dopaminergic neurotransmission may be involved, psychological processes that underlie these associations remain unclear. I hypothesize that these processes may have something to do with spontaneous self-referential thoughts. Specifically, I hypothesize that in extraverts self-referential thoughts may be associated with an increase of spectral power in the posterior DMN hub, whereas in introverts they may be associated with an increase of spectral power in the anterior DMN hub. After spontaneous EEG registration, participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire describing their thoughts during the registration. An item describing self-referential positive expectations (SRPE) was used to measure individual differences in the intensity of these processes. Source localization and independent component analyses were applied to EEG data to reveal oscillatory activity associated with the anterior and the posterior DMN hubs. Hierarchical regression analysis showed a significant interaction between extraversion scores and anterior vs. posterior DMN alpha activity in predicting individual differences in SRPE scores. In extraverts, high SRPE scores were associated with an increase of alpha power in the posterior DMN hub, whereas in introverts they were associated with an increase of alpha power in the anterior DMN hub. Results are discussed in terms of differential involvement of the two DMN hubs in self-related reward processes in extraverts and introverts. © 2013 Knyazev.


Lukashev A.N.,Russian Academy of Medical Sciences
Reviews in Medical Virology | Year: 2010

Picornaviruses are small non-enveloped positive strand RNA viruses that can cause a wide range of clinical manifestations in humans and animals. Many of these viruses are highly diversified and globally prevalent. Natural recombination has been reported in most picornavirus genera and is a key genetic feature of these infectious agents. In several socially relevant picornavirus genera, such as enteroviruses, aphthoviruses, parechoviruses and cardioviruses, recombination, combined with dynamic global epidemiology, maintains virus species as a worldwide pool of genetic information. It can be suggested that on a short time scale recombination acts to promote virus diversity, and new recombinant forms of picornaviruses emerge frequently as 'snapshots' of this global pool. On a longer time scale, recombination maintains stability of a gene pool of a species by shuffling sequences and thus limiting divergence and speciation. This review covers existing evidence of recombination in most genera of the family Picornaviridae and possible implications for diagnostics, epidemiology and classification. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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