March 2021 is declared the month of new medicine. Its development is impossible without the introduction of innovative technologies. Russian scientists are developing new methods for diagnosing and treating various diseases, integrating artificial intelligence technologies into clinical practice.
Personalized medicine is a global trend in modern medical science and one of the priority areas of scientific and technological development in Russia. Individualized treatment and disease prevention are inextricably linked to molecular medicine, genomics, and post-genomic biology. Within the framework of the Science and Universities national project, world-class scientific centers (NTSMU) are being created to carry out research on the priorities of the country’s scientific and technological development and healthcare.
Four new NCMUs emerging for research in personalized medicine and high-tech healthcare. One of them is the National Center for Personalized Medicine, established in 2020 on the basis of the N.N. V. A. Almazov. On March 25, 2021, within the framework of the NCMU activities, the Competence Center “Hereditary, rare and poorly studied diseases” is opened. His innovative developments will be associated with genetic research of congenital pathology and the study of the molecular mechanisms of its development. Also, on the basis of the Center, experimental cell and animal models will be created for testing new genetically engineered and gene therapy drugs for the treatment of hereditary diseases. Among the main tasks of the Center are improving the level of diagnosis and treatment of rare and little-studied diseases, promoting research on their etiology, studying the pathophysiological, cellular, biological and molecular mechanisms of rare and little-studied diseases, and developing methods of targeted therapy. Within the framework of the Competence Center, it is planned to form interdisciplinary teams, with the involvement of innovative solutions in the field of IT technologies. Research in the field of population genetics, infectious and non-infectious diseases, and oncology is also carried out on the basis of the National Center for Personalized Medicine.
And on March 26, a bioinformatics laboratory was opened at the center. The main tasks of the bioinformatics laboratory are the introduction of innovative IT technologies in the field of biomedicine, including artificial intelligence and machine learning. These methods will allow early diagnosis of complications, simplify the choice of personalized patient care, and expand clinical options. The laboratory plans to research and develop algorithms for personalized patient management, algorithms for analyzing large biomedical data.
In addition to new laboratories and research centers, modern medicines appear in Russia. A new drug for epilepsy, created by Russian scientists, entered the retail pharmacy chain in the Year of Science and Technology in Russia. This means that a modern domestic instrument has appeared in the arsenal of neurologists to alleviate the course of the disease.
Scientists from the Institute of Biochemical Physics. N.M. Emanuel (IBCP RAS) has developed a new drug for patients with epilepsy. The work lasted 23 years. The drug has undergone a full cycle of preclinical tests, and has also been studied in clinical trials of all phases. Today, pharmacies mainly sell imported drugs or their Russian counterparts. These drugs are often not effective enough, have serious side effects, including reduced attention, memory, thinking. The drug, developed by scientists from the IBCP RAS, is the first original innovative product in the anticonvulsant segment over the past 10 years. Scientists from the IBCP RAS were looking for ways to create drugs with new mechanisms of antiepileptic action, and they managed to synthesize a new phenolic antioxidant phenosan. It normalizes the processes of excitation and inhibition in the central nervous system, reduces the intensity of seizures and prevents cerebral hemorrhages. In addition, the drug based on phenosan, unlike other drugs, has a positive effect on memory, improves cognitive functions, and is safer for the body.
Epilepsy is a priority area of research interests in neurology. 50 million people in the world suffer from this disease in one form or another, in Russia – more than 1 million people.
Another priority area of modern medicine is the development of new methods for diagnosing cancer.
Scientists from the Siberian Federal University, the Krasnoyarsk Scientific Center of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the branch of the National Medical Research Center of Hematology have created a kit for the diagnosis of acute leukemia, which detects up to 18 mutations in a blood stem cell and is already used in hospitals today. Pilot testing of the kit was held within the framework of the contest “Clever” of the Fund for the Promotion of Innovations in 2017. Over the course of four years, the project has been developing: it has been possible to modernize the set of reagents and expand the number of detected genetic disorders characteristic of acute leukemias. As a result, the research team received a state order from the Ministry of Health to develop technology and conduct clinical trials among patients from different regions of the country. Today, the diagnostic method is successfully used on the basis of regional clinical hospitals. All patients with suspected leukemia are provided with a high-tech analysis developed by Krasnoyarsk scientists for free at the first diagnostic stage. Thanks to the promptly performed analysis, the hematologist quickly receives a full assessment of the genetic portrait of the tumor cell. Samples do not need to be sent to federal centers and wait for the results. The project is relevant for many regions where there is still no possibility of performing molecular genetic research on oncogenic mutations.