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The history of MNIOI in persons. Alexander Sergeevich Pavlov, Director of the Institute from 1967 to 1971.

Pavlov’s predecessor, A. N. Novikov, during his 13 years of directorship, certainly made a huge contribution to the construction and establishment of the institute after the war. But the 60s of the last century not only in our country have gone down in history as a time of thaw. It was during this period that our country began to demonstrate its tremendous success in various fields, not only in space and ballet, but also in the field of peaceful atom application, microbiology, radiology. And it is not by chance that the country’s leadership replaced the director of the “builder” with a man who created a whole direction in science – the theory and practice of radiation therapy of malignant tumors.

Alexander Sergeevich Pavlov was born in Moscow in 1920 and lived 98 years in full health and memory. Immediately after the end of the Second Med (now – N.A. Pirogov RNIMU) in 1942, he was sent to the active army and at the age of 22 became the head of the medical service of a tank brigade that participated in the battles near Stalingrad, on the Kursk Bulge, during the crossing of the Dnieper. Already in July 1943, he received the first Order of the Patriotic War II degree for his “valor and courage”. Then there will be the Order of Lenin – the highest among the orders of the Soviet country, the second Order of the Patriotic War, the Red Banner of Labor, the October Revolution, the Friendship of Peoples, the Prize of the Council of Ministers of the USSR – throughout the long and productive life, the Motherland has appreciated the merits of A.S. Pavlov. But let’s return to his heroic biography.

In 1944, during the crossing of the Dnieper, Alexander Sergeevich was wounded and after the hospital returned to his studies – he completed an adjunct course at the Naval Academy (VMA), by the way, founded in 1827 by the legendary Admiral I.F. Kruzenshtern. After graduation, Pavlov stayed to work at the MBA clinic with his beloved teacher, the legendary Professor V.S. Levit (we cannot but note – a participant in three wars, who was deputy chief surgeon of the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War), and two years later a young 29-year-old surgeon was appointed head of the Department of Medicine and Medical Industry of the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR for Science and Technology.  Undoubtedly, it was necessary to have remarkable organizational skills, a great outlook and scientific thinking in order to become the head of the process of technical re-equipment of the country’s healthcare after the war.

And he, as always, served the Motherland with full dedication in this post. However, the main business of his life was radiology.  The name of A.S. Pavlov in the scientific world will be associated with the latest methods of using ionizing radiation for the treatment of cancer patients.

Why exactly is it? According to the current director of the P.A. Herzen Institute of Medical Research – General Director of the NMIC of Radiology of the Ministry of Health of Russia, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Andrey Kaprin, who personally knew Alexander Sergeevich, his first published work – a PhD thesis – was devoted specifically to the experience of treating gunshot wounds of the chest, which he defended at the Department of Surgery of the VMA.

-But his own injury still made itself felt and did not allow Alexander Sergeevich to stay in surgery. And then he transferred all his talent as an experimenter and organizer to radiology.

Already in 1949, Pavlov was elected to the position of senior researcher at the Moscow Radiological Institute (MRRI, now the RNCRR of the Ministry of Health of Russia), to which he would return as director in 33 years.

Under his leadership, A.S. Pavlov conducted research on radiation modeling using fields of complex configuration (conformal irradiation), work on the protection of normal tissues during remote radiation therapy, the use of hyperbaric oxygenation and much more. The revolution in the creation of new devices for radiation therapy is also connected with his personality.

Heading the Department of Clinical Radiology of the Central Institute of Advanced Medical Training (now RAMPO) and since 1967 – the Moscow Research Oncological Institute named after P.A. Herzen, Alexander Sergeevich formulated a method of in–band gamma therapy, on the basis of which devices “Agate”, “Aspect” will be created; principles of remote irradiation, ways to protect healthy improved methods of combined treatment of tumors of many localizations.

A.S. Pavlov and his colleagues developed and introduced into clinical practice an original method of sequential administration of endostats and radio sources during intracavitary and interstitial radiation therapy.

A man of brilliant mind and encyclopedic knowledge, he studied the experience of the world’s radiation therapy centers for many years, working on long business trips in the scientific laboratories of Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, New York, Stanford, Houston.

In 1971, he was elected a full member of the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) of the USSR.  His authority is recognized by the world community: A.S. Pavlov was twice elected to the post of Deputy Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) (1971-1976).

After returning from Geneva, Alexander Sergeevich took the post of Vice-President of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences (1976-1982), where he continued to support many promising research in radiology. In 1992, A.S. Pavlov was elected an academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and in 2013 – an academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

For many years he served with honor as the chief radiologist of the Ministry of Health of the USSR.

Academician Pavlov devoted more than 40 years to the system of postgraduate education of radiologists and headed the Department of Radiology of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences until the end of his life. Many of the current chief radiologists of Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union are his students and keep the memory of their teacher.

Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Andrey Kaprin:

 – Alexander Sergeevich is one of the titans of our modern medical science. With his arrival, the era of clinical radiobiology and the technical re-equipment of radiation therapy centers began in the country. The first pressure chamber in the country was installed at our Institute and a laboratory of optical quantum generators was created.

A.S. Pavlov was an extraordinarily talented and versatile person. Despite his huge employment, he always remained very accessible. I willingly played chess. He even had a rank in this sport. We are proud that several outstanding pages in his biography were devoted to the work of the director of the Herzen Moscow State Research Institute.

Alexander Sergeyevich Pavlov died at the age of 98 and is buried at the Golovinsky Cemetery in Moscow.

Press Service of the NMIC of Radiology of the Ministry of Health of Russia

Published 6 April 2023

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