Andrey Kaprin: peaceful atom in the service of medicine

On December 8, 2020, the Russian Academy of Sciences held a general meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the nuclear industry in Russia. The report “Nuclear Medicine” was made by the Director General of the FSBI “NMIC of Radiology” of the Ministry of Health of Russia, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Andrey Kaprin.

Opening the high meeting of masters of Russian and world science, the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Sergeev noted that the nuclear industry is not only industry and technology, but also science.

In his report, Andrey Kaprin spoke about the history of the industry, focusing on the history of the development of Russian medical radiology.

Back in 1903, when the great Marie Curie, fascinated by the Russian scientist, director of the Moscow Research Institute of Oncology (today it is the P.A. Herzen Institute of Oncology) Vladimir Matveevich Zykov, presented him with several mg. of radium. This was the impetus for the research and development of the atom in Russia for medical purposes. Science developed, the Soviet nuclear industry developed, and in parallel, medicine took the best from the “peaceful atom”, brachytherapy, bone metastasis therapy, radiosynvectomy, radioembolization, radioiodotherapy, PET diagnostics, proton therapy and much more were born.

Today, nuclear medicine is considered one of the most promising industries, and it is becoming more and more in demand, especially in the diagnosis and treatment of oncological diseases.

Oncologists all over the world have high hopes for ways to influence the tumor with ultramodern and precise methods, and the latest achievements in this field are just radionuclides.

These methods are the most targeted, the most accurate, and have the ability to affect many foci. To do this, a radiopharmaceutical is orally or intravenously injected into the patient’s body – a “radioactive element” such as iodine-131, strontium or samarium, which purposefully “searches” for tumor tissue or metastatic lesion, and kills the nuclei of the tumor cell.

Since tumor cells are much more active than healthy ones and more energy is needed for their vital activity, therefore radiopharmaceuticals rush into the active target, destroying its DNA. It is gratifying that the Russian pharmaceutical industry will be able to produce such supertargeted drugs.

However, radiopharmaceuticals are used not only for the treatment, but also for the diagnosis of the tumor process, finding in the body and “highlighting” malignant cells that accumulate them in themselves. In particular, this technology includes the method of positron emission tomography in the “whole body” mode. During the PET/CT procedure, a therapeutic radionuclide is “hooked” to the diagnostic radionuclide, which gets into the “highlighted” tumor process (whether it is the tumor itself or its metastasis) and begins its destruction. Such a delicate method allows not only to prolong a person’s life, but also to improve its quality.

A Preclinical Research Center is being built on the territory of the A.F. Tsyba MRSC, a branch of the Federal State Budgetary Institution “NMIC of Radiology” of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, where the Center’s scientists will test new drugs that can be used in radionuclide therapy.

Press Service of the Federal State Budgetary Institution “NMIC of Radiology” of the Ministry of Health of Russia

Published 9 December 2020

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