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United Press International / Sept. 4, 2013
Two Russian physicist share $500,000 cosmology prize
Вячеслав Муханов (Университет имени Людвига-Максимилиана, Мюнхен) и Алексей Старобинский (академик РАН, Институт теоретической физики им. Л.Д. Ландау РАН) стали лауреатами премии Грубера по космологии 2013 года за вклад в создание стандартной космологической модели.
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Sept. 4 (UPI) - Two Russian-born physicist will share a $500,000 science prize for developing a theory of the universe's earliest moments, the prize's U.S. organizers say.
This year's $500,000 Gruber Prize in Cosmology has been awarded to Vyacheslav Mukhanov, a physics professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Münich, and Alexei Starobinsky, a research scientist at the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics in Moscow, the Gruber Foundation website reported Wednesday.
The prize was awarded for their "formative contributions to inflationary theory, an essential component for understanding the evolution and structure of the universe," the foundation said.
The prize citation credits Starobinsky and Mukhanov "with a profound contribution to inflationary cosmology and the theory of the inflationary perturbations of the metric of spacetime.
"This theory, explaining the quantum origin of the structure of our universe, is one of the most spectacular manifestations of the laws of quantum mechanics on cosmologically large scales," the citation says.
The Gruber International Prize Program, administered by Yale University, was created to recognize excellence in science by highlighting fields "with potential to create a better world" including cosmology, genetics, and neuroscience.
The Gruber Foundation also honors and encourages educational excellence in the fields of justice and women's rights.
© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Zee News / Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Neanderthals ate fish 45,000 years ago
Одна из гипотез, объясняющая, почему кроманьонцы примерно 40 тысяч лет назад вытеснили неандертальцев из Европы, состоит в том, что кроманьонцы использовали больше источников пищи (в том числе и рыбу), чем консервативные неандертальцы, питавшиеся только крупными травоядными.
Однако профессор Эрве Бошран из Тюбингенского университета и его коллеги Геннадий Барышников (Институт зоологии РАН) и Вим ван Неер (Королевский бельгийский институт естественных наук), обнаружили в кавказской пещере Кударо-3 кости лосося возрастом примерно 50 тысяч лет. Это позволяет предположить, что обитавшие там неандертальцы тоже могли употреблять в пищу рыбу.
Статья "Were bears or lions involved in salmon accumulation in the Middle Palaeolithic of the Caucasus? An isotopic investigation in Kudaro 3 cave" опубликована в журнале Quaternary International.
Berlin: Neanderthals were eating fish some 45,000 years ago, a new study has found, suggesting the close human relatives had a more diverse diet than previously thought.
One hypothesis suggests that Neanderthals were rigid in their dietary choice, targeting large herbivorous mammals, such as horse, bison and mammoths, while modern humans also exploited a wider diversity of dietary resources, including fish.
This dietary flexibility of modern humans would have been a big advantage when competing with Neanderthals and led to their final success, it was thought.
In a joint study, Professor Herve Bocherens of the University of Tübingen, Germany, together with colleagues from the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg, Russia and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, Belgium have found at a cave in the Caucasus Mountains indirect hints of fish consumption by Neanderthals.
The scientists challenge the hypothesis of evolutionary advantage of modern humans on basis of dietary choice. Bone analyses ruled out cave bears and cave lions to have consumed the fish whose remains were found at the Caucasian cave.
The hypothesis on dietary differences between modern humans and Neanderthals is based on the study of animal bones found in caves occupied by these two types of hominids, which can provide clues about their diet, but it is always difficult to exclude large predators living at the same time as being responsible for at least part of this accumulation.
One such case occurs in a cave located on the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains, called Kudaro 3.
There, the bone fragments of large salmon, migrating from marine water to their freshwater spawning places, were found in the Middle Palaeolithic archaeological layers, dated to around 42 to 48,000 years ago, and probably deposited by Neanderthals.
Such remains suggested that fish was consumed by these archaic Humans. However, large carnivores, such as Asiatic cave bears (Ursus kudarensis) and cave lions (Panthera spelaea) were also found in the cave and could have brought the salmon bones in the caves.
To test this hypothesis, the possible contribution of marine fish in the diet of these carnivores was evaluated using carbon, nitrogen and sulphur isotopes in faunal bone collagen, comparing these isotopic signatures between predators and their potential prey.
The results indicate that salmons were neither part of the diet of cave bears (they were purely vegetarian, like their European counterparts) or cave lions (they were predators of herbivores from arid areas).
"This study provides indirect support to the idea that Middle Palaeolithic Hominins, probably Neanderthals, were able to consume fish when it was available, and that therefore, the prey choice of Neanderthals and modern humans was not fundamentally different," said Bocherens.
© 1998-2013 Zee Media Corporation Ltd (An Essel Group Company), All rights reserved.
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Wall Street Journal / September 18, 2013
Russian Mushrooms Kill HIV, Institute Says
A treatment for HIV may be found in Siberian mushrooms that have been used in Russia since the 16th century as a folk remedy, a group of Russian scientists says.
Специалисты лаборатории микологии ГНЦ вирусологии и биотехнологии «Вектор» выявили десять штаммов сибирских грибов с противовирусным эффектом в отношении вирусов иммунодефицита человека 1 типа, гриппа и оспы. Самым широким спектром противовирусной активности обладает штамм березового гриба чаги.
MOSCOW - A treatment for HIV may be found in Siberian mushrooms that have been used in Russia since the 16th century as a folk remedy, a group of Russian scientists says.
The scientists from the Vector research institute in southwestern Siberia say they have identified three types of mushroom found in that region that can be developed into antiviral medicines, the institute said in a statement on its website.
"Strains of these mushrooms demonstrated low toxicity and a strong antiviral effect" against influenza, smallpox and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, the statement said.
Tests showed the most effective to be the Chaga mushroom, which grows on birch trees.
Collecting mushrooms is a much-loved pastime in Russia. Folk remedies are also popular here.
Chaga is mentioned as an anticancer drug in Alexander Solzhenitsyn's play "Cancer Ward" and in recent years has become a popular dietary supplement in the West.
The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York says on its website that "no clinical trials have been conducted to assess Chaga's safety and efficacy for disease prevention or for the treatment of cancer."
The statement by the Russian scientists says they intend to use the mushrooms to produce medicines.
"It's a promising line of development," the Vector institute said.
In Soviet times, the Vector research institute was a Soviet biological weapons facility and stored deadly viruses, including those causing smallpox.
Copyright © 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Irish Times / Wed, Sep 18, 2013
Russian scientific academy draws Nobel laureate support in protest at control Bill
Scientists say the Kremlin is clearing the legal way for a major land grab.
В городах России прошли акции протеста против реформы РАН.
There are not many places in the world where you'd see illustrious academicians and even octogenarian Nobel laureates out carrying banners in street protests. Except, that is, for Russia, where hundreds of scientists are battling to overturn a controversial Kremlin plan to reform the Russian Academy of Scientists.
At yesterday's demonstration in Moscow, about 200 scientists and their supporters gathered in early morning rain near the Duma, or parliament, where deputies were expected to debate amendments to a Bill that will transfer control of the fiercely independent academy to a federal agency. The Bill will also strip it of the right to manage its valuable property portfolio.
Zhores Alferov, the 2000 physics Nobel prizewinner who heads the Duma's science committee, has been among the most vocal of the protesters who have rallied in Russian cities from Moscow to Saint Petersburg and Vladivostok since the government detailed plans to overhaul the academy three months ago.
He has described the proposed reforms, as "a complete disgrace" that will "kill" Russian science" once and for all.
Founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1725, the academy has, over its centuries-long history, grown into the biggest academic institution in Russia, managing most of the country's scholarly research through a network of 434 affiliates.
In its heyday in the Soviet era, this august organisation was at the cutting edge of a scientific revolution that helped put the first man in space, create a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines and build Russia's own atomic bomb.
Scientists as stars
Soviet academicians were showered with material privileges by the communist authorities that ordinary citizens could only dream of. They were regarded with an admiration comparable to the popular worship of today's footballers and rock stars.
The glory days at the Russian Academy of Scientists came to an end in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and state funding dried up. Many of Russia's most talented scientists have been snapped up by foreign companies and institutions since then, and those left behind have struggled to produce ground-breaking research.
After Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000, the Kremlin began trying to impose its will on the academy, but the academicians, who are still highly respected in Russia, resisted.
Somewhat unfairly, Russian officials have painted a picture of the academy as a club of elderly and even corrupt researchers who produce little of scientific value.
For its part, the academy has criticised the authorities for trying to push through hasty reforms in the summer recess without consultation with the scientific community.
Most egregious from their point of view is the government's plan to take over management of the academy's property portfolio. This includes not just research institutes, but hospitals, sanatoriums and valuable real estate in Moscow.
The scale of the protests - that included not only scientists, but notable members of the Russian intelligentsia such as Nataliya Solzhenitsyna, the widow of the Soviet dissident writer Alexandr Solzhenitsyn - appears to have taken the Kremlin by surprise.
In July, Mr Putin summoned Vladimir Fortov, the president of the academy, for talks aimed at resolving the dispute. After the meeting, legislators drafted a set of amendments that are said to water down some controversial aspects of the Bill.
The protest yesterday took the form of a gulyaniye (walk about), to bypass Russian police rules that outlaw unauthorised demonstrations. It was timed to coincide with the Duma debate on the amendments.
Many of the protesters acknowledged that Russian science needs to modernise and align more closely with international standards, but they suspect the government may have a hidden agenda.
"No one knows what's going on," said Mikhail Gelfand, a doctor of science and professor of bioinformatics. "It's all happening under the carpet."
Recipe for "chaos"
The reforms were ill-thought-out without any consideration about their implementation, he added. "They could cause chaos in the years ahead."
Raising the stakes, the Russian Society of Scientific Workers, the academy trade union, accused some Duma deputies of academic plagiarism and demanded their resignation ahead of the vote. "We consider it categorically unacceptable that the fate of the Russian Academy of Scientists is being decided, among others, by Duma deputies suspected of falsifying their dissertations," the society said in an open letter published in the Russian business daily Kommersant.
Even if the Duma, as expected, votes conclusively in favour of academy reform later this week, the protests are likely to continue, said Prof Gelfand. "Today is one of the big days [in the protest movement]. I regret it will not be the last."
© 2013 THE IRISH TIMES.
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Nature / 19 September 2013
Vote seals fate of Russian Academy of Sciences
Controversial law has critics fearing "liquidation" of the nation's science.
18 сентября Госдума приняла в третьем окончательном чтении закон о реформировании Академии наук.
Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, approved controversial reforms to the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) on 18 September. More than 330 members of the Duma voted in favour of the law, with only 107 against, in a move critics say will deprive the 289-year-old body of its independence and halt attempts to revitalize Russia's struggling science system.
If, as is widely expected, the parliament's upper house and Russian President Vladimir Putin approve the law, the 436 institutes and 45,000 research staff of Russia's primary basic-research organization will be managed by a newly established federal agency that reports directly to Putin. The agency will manage the academy's 60-billion-rouble (US$1.9-billion) budget and extensive property portfolio, which includes lucrative sites in Moscow and St Petersburg, and will also have a say in the appointment of institute directors.
Outside the Duma building during the vote, a group of outraged scientists protested the unpopular changes, which were first proposed in June without prior consultation of the RAS leadership.
They said that a number of amendments adopted in yesterday's third reading - for example, that the Siberian, Ural and the Far Eastern branches of the RAS will remain under the academy's jurisdiction, and a slight dilution of government interference compared with the initial bill - do little to avert harm to Russian science.
"This is not a reform - this is a liquidation of science in Russia," says Alexander Kuleshov, director of the academy's Institute for Information Transmission Problems in Moscow.
Since 1991, the academy has lost much of its former glory owing to a sharp decline in state funding after the demise of the Soviet Union. The increasing inefficiency of the RAS and its obstinate reluctance to adopt organizational changes has prompted the Russian government to focus science spending on universities, national research centres, public-private research partnerships such as Rusnano, a multibillion-rouble nanotechnology initiative, and the planned Skolkovo science-and-technology city outside Moscow.
The academy leadership, and many Russian scientists, agree that changes are urgently needed. But they fear that transferring control of basic science to the government is counterproductive.
"The changes are pointless and ill-conceived," says Mikhail Gelfand, deputy director of the Institute for Information Transmission Problems. "The new managers have no knowledge of science. Nobody in the government has any idea of how science will work in the transition period and how long that period may last," he says. "We can certainly expect a lot of chaos, whereas the real problems remain untackled."
Over the past few weeks, there have been heated discussions about the future of the academy between the RAS leadership and formal and informal groups of Russian scientists. Suggestions have included conducting an external review of RAS institutes, and the creation of a grant-based funding system that would reward merit over experience. A personal meeting in August between RAS president Vladimir Fortov and Putin had raised hopes for a more science-friendly reform - but these have failed to materialize.
Fortov did not respond to Nature's request for comment.
© 2013 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.
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Nature / 20 September 2013
Russian academy leader speaks out on reforms
Vladimir Fortov highlights the need for a clear separation between science and administration.
Интервью президента РАН Владимира Фортова журналу Nature.
A reform bill approved earlier this week by Russia's lower parliamentary chamber, the State Duma, has thrown the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) into turmoil. Physicist Vladimir Fortov, recently elected president of the academy, speaks to Nature about the delicately poised situation, which is likely to see the RAS come under the control of a federal agency that reports directly to President Vladimir Putin (see "Vote seals fate of Russian Academy of Sciences").
Some commentators have said that the RAS has ceased to exist. Is that so?
I don't quite agree. The first version of the reform bill, drafted in June, would indeed have resulted in our liquidation. But the version of the law that the Duma adopted on Wednesday has been amended in several respects. I'm not happy at all with that law, but it allows us to continue to exist as a learned body of outstanding scientists.
So what will change?
Our methods of operation will change and our institutes will be owned by a federal agency. But I hope that science will operate separately from that agency.
What are your main concerns?
In future, scientific directors will be appointed jointly by the RAS and the new agency. It's supposed to be a compromise, but it's not a good solution and it could be very bad for science in our country. We [the RAS general assembly] had hoped and suggested [in August] that the academy would be responsible for science, whereas the federal agency would solely be responsible for property management. Disappointingly, our proposals were not adopted. But we must still insist on a clear and sharp separation of the two spheres.
Who will decide who is responsible?
Much depends on who will head the new agency. Putin has said that [the head] will be the president of the RAS. But the adopted law has no such provision. So, theoretically, a bureaucrat or government official could be put in charge, which I think would be a very bad thing for us. We must wait and see what happens. I understand that, at least in the transition period, I will remain responsible for science.
When will we know the final outcome?
There's no clear timetable yet for how the new law will be implemented. The upper chamber of parliament is scheduled to discuss the law on 25 September - I hope we will have clarification thereafter.
You took office in May this year. Will you resign if things run against you?
It is possible, but it is too early to say.
What do you think of media reports that there will be a three-year moratorium on the election of new academy members?
This is not the case. The new law says no such thing.
Are you afraid that scientists might lose their jobs?
I don't know. The government will formulate targets. We have been asked to become more efficient - that's all I can say. These are difficult times for us. We will consult with academies in other countries and we're grateful for any support we get.
© 2013 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.
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The Guardian / Thursday 19 September 2013
Russia urges UN climate report to include geoengineering
The Russian government is asking for "planet hacking" to be included in the climate science report, leaked documents show.
- Martin Lukacs, Suzanne Goldenberg and Adam Vaughan
Россия настаивает на том, чтобы в докладе ООН по климатологии, который будет опубликован на следующей неделе, были поддержаны геоинжиниринговые технологии по изменению климата планеты. The Guardian характеризует подобные технологии как «сомнительные»: несмотря на доказанную в ряде случаев эффективность, последствия могут быть непредсказуемыми.
Russia is pushing for next week's landmark UN climate science report to include support for controversial technologies to geoengineer the planet's climate, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.
As climate scientists prepare to gather for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Stockholm to present the most authoritative state of climate science to date, it has emerged the Russian government is asking for "planet hacking" to be included in the report. The IPCC has not included geoengineering in its major assessments before.
The documents seen by the Guardian show Russia is asking for a conclusion of the report to say that a "possible solution of this [climate change] problem can be found in using of [sic] geoengineering methods to stabilise current climate." Russia also highlighted that its scientists are developing geoengineering technologies.
Geoengineering aims to cool the Earth by methods including spraying sulphate aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight, or fertilising the oceans with iron to create carbon-capturing algal blooms.
Such ideas are increasingly being discussed by western scientists and governments as a plan B for addressing climate change, with the new astronomer royal, Professor Sir Martin Rees, calling last week for such methods to buy time to develop sources of clean energy. But the techniques have been criticised as a way for powerful, industrialised nations to dodge their commitments to reduce carbon emissions.
Some modelling has shown geoengineering could be effective at reducing the Earth's temperature, but manipulation of sensitive planetary systems in one area of the world could also result in drastic unintended consequences globally, such as radically disrupted rainfall.
Responding to efforts to discredit the climate science with a spoiler campaign in advance of the report, the chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra K Pachauri, said he was confident the high standards of the science in the report would make the case for climate action. He said: "There will be enough information provided so that rational people across the globe will see that action is needed on climate change."
The Russian scientist Yuri Izrael, who has participated in IPCC geoengineering expert groups and was an adviser to the former Russian president Vladimir Putin, conducted an experiment in 2009 that sprayed particles from a helicopter to assess how much sunlight was blocked by the aerosol plume. A planned test in Britain that would have used a balloon attached to a 1km hose to develop equipment for spraying was prevented after a public outcry.
Observers have suggested that Russia's admission that it is developing geoengineering may put it in violation of the UN moratorium on geoengineering projects established at the Biodiversity Convention in 2010 and should be discussed on an emergency basis when the convention's scientific subcommittee meets in Montreal in October.
Civil society organisations have previously raised concerns that expert groups writing geoengineering sections of the IPCC report were dominated by US, UK and Canadian geoengineering advocates who have called for public funding of large-scale experiments or who have taken out commercial patents on geoenginering technologies. One scientist who served as a group co-chair, David Keith of Harvard University, runs a private geoengineering company, has planned tests in New Mexico, and is publicising a new book called The Case for Climate Engineering.
Nearly 160 civil society, indigenous and environmental organisations signed a letter in 2011 urging caution and calling on the IPCC not to legitimise geoengineering.
Silvia Ribeiro, Latin America director of the technology watchdog ETC Group, said: "We have been warning that a few geoengineering advocates have been trying to hijack the IPCC for their agenda. We are now seeing a deliberate attempt to exploit the high profile and credibility of this body in order to create more mainstream support for extreme climate engineering. The public and policymakers need to be on guard against being steamrollered into accepting dangerous and immoral interventions with our planet, which are a false solution to climate change. Geoengineering should be banned by the UN general assembly."
Matthew Watson, a senior lecturer at the University of Bristol's Earth sciences department and one of the team behind the cancelled balloon project, said: "In general ought the IPCC to be thinking about geoengineering? Yes. But do I want to see unilateralism or regionalism affect the debate? Certainly not. The people who don't like geoengineering will suggest the IPCC is a method for normalising it."
He added: "The IPCC has to be very careful about how it handles this [geoengineering] because it is clearly a very significant output that people are very mindful of."
While the IPCC is intended to be a scientific advisory panel, government delegates have been reviewing the summary report and make final decisions about it in Stockholm at the end of the month.
Sweden, Norway and Germany expressed more scepticism about geoengineering and asked that the report underline its potential dangers.
"The information on geoengineering options is too optimistic as it does not appropriately reflect the current lack of knowledge or the high risks associated with such methods," noted the German government. Geoengineering is expected to play a much larger role in the next IPCC reports coming out in 2014. Observers were surprised that it had turned up in this first major report - meant to assess physical science rather than mitigation strategies.
Russia's climate negotiators did not respond to a request for comment.
© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
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MarketWatch / Sept. 26, 2013
Moscow Meeting of Top Virus Researchers Catalyzes Global Collaborations
8-12 сентября впервые прошла научно-практическая конференция «Московская международная неделя вирусологии», на которой собрались ведущие вирусологи со всего мира. Обсуждались вопросы, связанные с диагностикой и профилактикой различных вирусных инфекций, созданием новых противовирусных препаратов, а также обучением специалистов.
BALTIMORE, Sep 26, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) - Members of the Global Virus Network (GVN), which includes foremost experts in every class of human virus, and representing more than 20 countries, met in Moscow this month to share information on devastating viral threats. Top scientists shared intelligence on an array of diseases threatening global health, including China's H7N9 influenza epidemic, the alarming rise in measles cases in Europe and the United States, the unexpected re-emergence of polio, and insidious viruses causing cancer lymphomas, to name a few. Robert C. Gallo, MD, GVN Co-Founder and Scientific Director, said, "The scientific presentations at the meeting were terrific and varied. The meeting helped forge collaborations around the world that might not otherwise exist. For example, during the meeting we launched an important training program between researchers and clinicians at our Institute in Baltimore and with those in Moscow and surrounding regions in Russia."
Newly elected Chairman of the GVN Board of Directors G. Steven Burrill, Chief Executive Officer of Burrill & Company, said, "What once was a regional epidemic today grows exponentially into a global threat due to international travel, trade and other factors. A strong, interconnected network of medical virologists - a GVN - is mankind's best defense against new and existing viral threats." Burrill continued, "In Moscow, we strengthened our network through scientist-to-scientist exchanges on drug and vaccine development on a range of critical viral diseases, including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, measles, influenza, enterovirus, polio hemorrhagic fever and the 20% of cancers caused by viruses. Face-to-face meetings of scientists are essential in pushing knowledge forward. Our gathering of world leaders in medical virology is a vital element to success against viral foes."
Co-founded in 2011 by Dr. Gallo, most widely known for his pioneering discoveries of the first human retroviruses, co-discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS, and development of the HIV blood test, and his colleagues William Hall, MD, PhD, Chair of Medical Microbiology and Director of the Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases at University College Dublin's (UCD) School of Medicine and Medical Science in Dublin, Ireland, and Reinhard Kurth, MD, former Director of the Paul Ehrlich Institute and the Robert Koch Institute and Chairman of the Foundation Council at Ernst Schering Foundation in Berlin, Germany, GVN fulfills the need for substantive increases in global collaboration to overcome gaps in research during the earliest phases of viral epidemics and medical training programs enhancing the numbers of rising medical virologists trained to meet these challenges.
"Research presented in Moscow was very stimulating, and Moscow served as a catalyst for scientific collaborations that would not otherwise have been initiated," said Gallo, also Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "We are all very grateful to our GVN Russian Center of Excellence Head and host of the meeting, Alexey Mazus, MD, Chief Expert on HIV/AIDS for the Russian Federation Ministry of Health and Head of the Moscow Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment. We look forward to launching our new collaboration."
GVN President Sharon Hrynkow, PhD welcomed the announcement by Dr. Mazus explaining that the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine will serve as the first training site for young Russian scientists. Hrynkow continued, "In addition to training in clinical virology, we hope to expand our relationship with the Russian GVN to include training for post-doctoral research fellows and other scholarships in medical virology, building on the strong foundation in virology already present in Russia."
In addition to the Russian GVN and IHV GVN Center of Excellence collaboration announcement, IHV Associate Director and Director of the Clinical Care and Research Division, Robert Redfield, MD and his John Hopkins University colleague John Bartlett, MD and Dr. Mazus released a Russian clinical training book, "Medical Management of HIV Infection," in partnership with the GVN.
GVN will hold its next meeting in Xi'an, China in May 2014.
About Global Virus Network (GVN)
The Global Virus Network (GVN) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, comprised of leading medical virologists from more than 20 countries. The GVN's mission is to combat current and emerging pandemic viral threats through international collaborative research, training the next generation of medical virologists, and advocacy. For more information, please contact Nora Grannell at email@example.com and visit www.gvn.org. Follow us on Twitter @GlobalVirusNews
Copyright © 2013 MarketWatch, Inc. All rights reserved.
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MarketWatch / Sept. 26, 2013
Positron and Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Science Enter into Licensing Agreement for Radiostrontium Production Technology
Институт ядерных исследований РАН и корпорация Positron (США) заключили лицензионное соглашение о научно-производственном сотрудничестве в сфере получения стронция-82. ИЯИ РАН - единственное место в Европе и Азии, где осуществляется наработка стронция-82 в больших количествах на крупнейшей в мире установке такого типа. Из этого радионуклида выделяется радиофармацевтический препарат рубидий-82, используемый в позитронно-эмиссионной томографии.
CHICAGO, Sept. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ - Positron Corporation is pleased to announce it has entered into a licensing agreement with the Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Science (INR), Moscow, Russia, for its know-how, inventions and technology related to the production of radiostrontium. Under the agreement, INR grants Positron Corporation a worldwide license to the proprietary technology, including the exclusive rights to utilize the technology in the production of strontium-82 in North America, in return for royalty payments. Strontium-82 (Sr-82) is the precursor to rubidium-82 (Rb-82), the leading radiopharmaceutical used in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) myocardial perfusion imaging.
The strontium-82 production technology was developed by Dr. Boris Zhuikov, Head of the Laboratory Radioisotope Complex and colleagues at INR, and is the first commercially meaningful breakthrough in the Sr-82 production process in the last twenty years. The developed technology has significant economic benefits, as it simplifies the production process while increasing the yield and quality of the product derived from rubidium metal.
This improved rubidium metal Sr-82 production process, currently practiced in Russia as well as by a French radioisotope production facility, will be applied to future rubidium metal target processing at Positron's Lubbock, TX facility. The most significant aspect of this technology is the potential realization of a real-time, in-line Sr-82 production mechanism using a rubidium metal target loop on Positron's proposed 70 MeV cyclotron. For such a dynamic target loop system, a liquid cycling target is required. The only liquid target material suitable for Sr-82 production is molten rubidium, an alkali metal.
"For decades the top Russian scientific agencies have lead in the innovation, development and industrial application of liquid alkali metal loops in radioactive environments such as the liquid sodium metal cooling loop used in its fast breeder reactors," stated Jason Kitten, Executive Director of Radioisotopes for Positron Corporation. "This same proven technology provides the technical basis for the design and application of a liquid rubidium metal loop. Positron now has the opportunity to build on the practical experience and proven success of alkali metal loops to substantially impact the future of Sr-82. Positron's application of an inline Sr-82 production mechanism and target system is revolutionary and enhances the scalability of Sr-82 production, providing higher yield and volumes that are required to meet the ever increasing demand for Rb-82 PET."
Patrick G. Rooney, Chief Executive Officer of Positron Corporation, states, "We are extremely pleased with our agreement with INR, as it provides Positron with access to the best strontium-82 production technology in the world. This technology further complements our existing Sr-82 IP portfolio and is another key element in Positron's strategy and one that provides Positron a competitive advantage in the cardiac PET imaging market in North America."
Jason Kitten further states, "Dr. Boris Zhuikov and his radioisotope production team have provided a significant portion of the global Sr-82 supply for the past 17 years. During this time Dr. Zhuikov has developed, tested, and proven a novel mechanism for significantly improving upon the current method used for producing Sr-82 from rubidium metal. This proven technology will allow a substantial increase and scalability of Sr-82 supply, which is necessary for the industry to sustain the projected double-digit growth. The increase in Sr-82 will help meet future demands and fortify cardiac PET as a sustainable and preferred modality for cardiac imaging. We are excited that INR has recognized our expertise in the field and has chosen the Positron team for implementation of this technology."
About Positron: Positron Corporation is a nuclear medicine healthcare company vertically integrating all the segments of nuclear cardiology - providing an end-to-end solution for cardiac PET. Through proprietary PET imaging systems, radiopharmaceuticals and radioisotopes solutions, Positron enables healthcare providers to more accurately diagnose disease and improve patient outcomes, while practicing cost effective medicine. Positron's unique products, market position and approach in securing the supply chain are substantial advantages, further accelerating the adoption of cardiac PET and growth of nuclear cardiology. Positron is redefining the industry. More information about Positron is available at www.positron.com.
Forward Looking Statements: Statements in this document contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements are based on many assumptions and estimates and are not guarantees of future performance. These statements may involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Positron Corporation to be materially different from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Positron assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future. Our actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, including, without limitation those set forth as "Risk Factors" in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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