|Российская наука и мир|
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)
Canadian Corporate News / November 26, 2002 9:07 AM EST
Global Precision Medical Inc.: Phase I Technology Confirmation and Expanded Medical Device Opportunities
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Nov 26, 2002 (CCNMatthews via COMTEX) -- GLOBAL PRECISION MEDICAL INC (OTCBB: "GBPMF") announces that a team representing the Company visited Moscow and completed a successful confirmation due diligence and technology transfer visit. The goal was to assess the state of clinical development of the Company's patentable proprietary Nitinol Prostatic Stent (Uro-Stent) and to coordinate their efforts into the Company's Canadian based program to commercialization. The URO-Stent is used for the prevention of lumen restriction associated with benign prostate hyperplasia - (BPH is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate, which compresses the urethra as it grows thereby restricting the flow of urine - a primary cause of urinary voiding dysfunction in men).
The Company has entered into an exclusive worldwide Technology Licence Agreement with Global Medical Sciences Inc. to commercialize and further develop the URO-Stent. As a result, the Company is preparing a Go-Forward document setting out the pathway to regulatory approval and the market.
In addition to a strong dedicated team of scientists, clinicians and medical specialists in Moscow working on the URO-Stent project, the unique properties of the Nitinol metal is driving the development of other minimally invasive medical devices. The particular Nitinol formulation used in the devices was developed and is produced at the world-renowned Institute of Metallurgy and Material Sciences in Moscow (Sputnik program, Russian military and current space station). During the visit scientists at the Institute demonstrated melting and forming the metal, fine drawing of the metal rods into Nitinol wire, research of the microstructure and chemical analyses, heat treatment and the qualities of the "memory" of Nitinol under various temperatures.
Hand braiding of a URO-Stent from a single strand of Nitinol wire was demonstrated, revealing the technique used to produce the unique atraumatic (smooth) ends of the stent. Larger diameter stents produced at the Institute were demonstrated. These are being investigated for medical use in other areas of the body.
A follow-up visit was made to the Russian Oncology Scientific Center, an 1100 bed stand-alone research hospital where clinical work is being done using the stent technology to treat strictures associated with the cancer or as a result of treatment of the cancers. Preliminary successful results of utilizing the unique shape memory properties of the stents are going to be reported in the December issue of a Russian medical publication.
Extensive research work utilizing the shape memory properties of Nitinol has been carried out by other scientists associated with the Company, particularly for minimally invasive pediatric cardiology and patients having secondary central interatrial septum defects (ASD- commonly known as a hole in the heart). This use was demonstrated during the visit. To date, Human trials on 9 patients 3.5 - 22 years old using an occlusive device made from Nitinol, which has the ability to adapt to the shape and dimensions of the defect, have been successful.
The highlight of the technology transfer visit was the extensive update on the state of the development of the URO-Stent in Russia. The team observed a successful URO-Stent implant procedure into a male patient suffering from blockage associated with advanced BPH. The procedure was carried out by Dmitri Pushkar M.D., Ph. D. Professor and Chairman of the Department of Urology at Moscow State Medical University (Member of the American Urology Association). Professor Pushkar along with Professor Loran are leading independent Urologists in Russia. Other Urologists on the staff of 50 specialists working under Professor Pushkar have also participated in conducting human trials. Results of clinical trials gathered from 3 sites in Moscow including the work done at the Moscow State Medical University by Professor Pushkar's team is before the Russian Federation Ministry of Health for approval for use and sale in Russia. Approval is indicated by the end of February, 2003. Upon regulatory approval, a marketing plan will be implemented to sell the device for use in Russia and other Eastern countries where regulatory approval in Russia confers approval.
2003 - Q1:
1. To begin sales of the URO-Stent for treating BPH in Russia;
2. To complete a further 30 patient trial at the Moscow State Medical University. MDMI Technologies (the Company's Canadian-based collaborative contract partner), will coordinate the trials which will be monitored by a selected international clinical research organization.
2003 - Q2:
1. To expand sales of the URO-Stent under the Russian Federation Ministry of Health approval to surrounding countries;
2. To use the 30 patient clinical trial results conducted at the Moscow State Medical University Professor to proceed with clinical trials at a leading hospital in China under a SDA (State Drug Administration) application for approval for sale and use. SDA approval in China is also recognized in many other countries in the region;
3. To formalize the procedures in other areas where the use of the Company's Nitinol technology is being investigated including the studies being done by the clinicians at the Russian Oncology Scientific Center.
The commercialization program underway is based on a sound and proven business model - to achieve approvals and follow-up meaningful sales in areas of the world outside the US and Japan, but including Canadian and European CE Marking, while building a clinical data base and production engineering experience to proceed with an FDA application.
Global Precision Medical Inc. now sees itself as being more than a one-device Company; specifically it sees its relationship with the scientists within the Institute of Metallurgy and Material Sciences in Moscow, and the medical clinicians associated with them developing, such that the Company becomes a platform for launching Nitinol materials-driven medical devices.
The lead-off product, the URO-Stent, is ready as-is to begin commercialization starting in the first quarter of 2003. The worldwide BPH treatment market currently generates over US$3 billion in revenues and is projected to grow at over 15% per year. An estimated 30 million men worldwide suffer from moderate to severe symptoms of prostate related disorders.
Non-brokered Private Placement
The Company is pleased to announce that it has negotiated a non-brokered private placement. The issue is comprised of one Common Share and half a warrant at a price of US $0.75 for 66,667 Units for a total of $50,000. The warrants are exercisable for two years. One full warrant will entitle the holder to purchase one Common Share for two years at a price of $1.00 if exercised in the first year and at price of $2.00 if exercised in the second year. The Common Shares and any shares issued pursuant to the exercise of warrants are subject to a hold period of not less than one year from the closing date set for November 27, 2002.
The proceeds of the offering are to be used for general working capital requirements which includes the completion of a business plan.
© Copyright 2002, Canadian Corporate News, all rights reserved
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Interfax / 11/23/2002
Russian scientists seeking to lengthen human life
Российские ученые работают над технологией, чтобы увеличить продолжительность жизни людей по крайней мере в два раза
MOSCOW.Nov 23 (Interfax) - Russian scientists are working on technology to at least double the lifespan of humans, if not increase it "to infinity," a researcher has said, adding that experiments have lengthened the life of mice and rats 30% to 35%.
of two to three. At the moment there are experiments on laboratory mice and rats, and an extension of their life that has been achieved in the experiments is 30% to 35%," Liudmila Obukhova of the Biochemical Physics Institute told Interfax.
She said Russian gerontologists had immortalized some cells by implanting a certain gene in them.
"Despite numerous attempts by Western scientists to find a longevity gene and use the potential of gene engineering to extend life, our scientists put greater hopes on antioxidants, independent substances that are one of the causes of the aging of the organism. Synthetic preparations have already been developed in Russia," Obukhova said
© Copyright 2002 INTERFAX Financial Times Information Limited
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Business Wire November 13, 2002 10:30 AM EST
Spirit Sciences USA and ITEB RAS Find That Many Alcohol-Related Injuries May Be Prevented
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Nov 13, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Researchers from the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ITEB RAS) and Spirit Sciences USA, a California-based company, announced that RU-21, a succinic acid-based formula, has been shown in clinical trials to be effective in minimizing, or in some cases completely preventing, the harmful effects of acetaldehyde, a cancer-linked byproduct of alcohol metabolism.
Acetaldehyde is known to cause most alcohol-related diseases as well as diminished physical appearance. Recent studies directly link acetaldehyde buildup in the body to various types of cancer, liver cirrhosis, brain damage, sexual dysfunctions, damage to DNA cells, which causes genetic predisposition to alcoholism; reproductive system damage in both men and women, as well as the most common syndrome, known as a hangover.
Results obtained in three large clinical trials involving patients with chronic gastritis, stomach ulcers and dipsomania were duplicated by Scientific Institute of Narcology of the Russian Ministry of Public Health. They indicate that RU-21 slows ethanol oxidation into acetaldehyde and increases the speed of acetaldehyde decomposition into acetic acid, and consequently into water and carbon dioxide. It also balances metabolic processes in liver, heart and brain cells. This combination of therapeutic effects has never been previously achieved.
"Understanding and correcting alcohol metabolism is a key to reducing the risks associated with its consumption, including the development of alcoholism," says Dr. Evgeny Mayevsky, the Vice Director for Research of ITEB RAS and a prominent Russian scientist. "Alcohol research is and has been for many years a number one priority for us, because alcohol-related injuries and diseases are epidemic in Russia, to the point where I can say that it represents a clear and present danger to our society. Today, I'm happy to say that we made a big step forward."
Spirit Sciences already began marketing RU-21 in the United States in October as a dietary supplement. Emil Chiaberi, a COO of Spirit Sciences, expressed confidence that the product will quickly become popular in the United States. "For most people, the incentive to try the product would be its anti-hangover effect. The benefits, of course, will be much broader. In terms of our long-term goals in the United States, let me just say that if everyone who consumes alcohol, other than small quantities of wine, uses RU-21, it will make a real difference in public health issues related to alcohol consumption."
About Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ITEB RAS)
ITEB RAS was established in 1990 by the order of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences as a result of restructuring of a Biophysics Institute of RAS, which was founded in 1952. ITEB RAS consists of 35 scientific research departments and 24 laboratories and employs over 330 researchers.
Dr. Mayevsky is a Vice Director of Research of ITEB RAS. Among his many scientific contributions is development of Perftoran, a blood substitute for which he received a top government award.
About Spirit Sciences
Spirit Sciences USA is a California-based company involved in the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of breakthrough pharmaceutical and nutritional products. The company's products are sold at more than 70,000 retail locations in North America, Europe, Countries of CIS and Israel.
© Copyright (C) 2002 Business Wire. All rights reserved
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THE MOSCOW TIMES / November 04, 2002
Environmentalists Claim Victory in Caviar Clash
The muddy waters of the Ural River, which divides Europe and Asia, are the theater of a race against time to save a magnificent predator so old it predates even dinosaurs.
The Ural is the only natural spawning ground of the beluga sturgeon, a creature that can grow to 4 meters, weigh 2.5 tons and live more than a century. Its adaptability allowed it to prosper for 300 million years, but eventually a fatal flaw emerged: Its roe, the king of caviar, is so tasty that today it retails for $3,000 per kilo in the West and $200 per kilo in Moscow, almost all of it illegally caught. Its position is probably even more precarious than previously suspected. Official Russian estimates put the size of the beluga population at 9.6 million, but this number is based on dubious research methods and is in all likelihood wildly inaccurate.
The battle to save the largest of the sturgeon family has involved - in a tug-of-war rich in paradoxes - underfunded and corrupt governments, powerful canneries, weak international bureaucracies and three U.S.-based nonprofit organizations.
The latest round was won by the beluga: On Oct. 22, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, the animal- protection arm of the United Nations, banned all trade in beluga meat and caviar. The trade ban came at the worst possible moment for the caviar trade. Retailers are about to stock up for the holiday season, when most caviar is consumed. "What we are saying to the rest of the world is don't accept any export permits of beluga from now on until further notice from the secretariat," said Jim Armstrong, CITES' deputy secretary general, in a telephone interview from Geneva.
He said the ban was imposed in response to Azerbaijan breaking ranks with Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on the issue of how to divide up the beluga quota.
According to Armstrong, Azerbaijan argued that since it has spent considerable money in dredging its Kura River in order to bring it back as a spawning ground for beluga, it deserves a bigger share of the beluga catch, most of which takes place in Kazakhstan's Ural River. Armstrong said that even if Azerbaijan withdraws its protests and fulfills the CITES condition that caviar exports can only take place under a unified, five- country management, the ban won't be lifted until late November at the earliest.
In 1992, Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan agreed to divide up the catch from the Ural and Volga rivers based on how much each country was spending on hatcheries, which release fingerlings and other measures to help stem the decline.
When CITES started regulating the caviar trade two years ago, it demanded joint management by the five riparian countries: Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
Until recently, Azerbaijan was known as the neighborhood bad boy - the country that was accused of poaching the most sturgeon at sea since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In the Soviet era, fishing was limited to rivers and poaching was negligible.
But on Sept. 9, Azerbaijan broke ranks with the other Caspian countries, which had always argued that there was plenty of sturgeon left in the sea and that there was no need for any kind of restrictions on lucrative caviar exports.
In a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Azerbaijan endorsed a proposal by the service to list beluga as an endangered species and ban its importation.
"The catch of beluga in the Caspian Sea has significantly dropped during the last decades," wrote Gussein Bagirov, Azerbaijan's minister of environmental protection.
"Continued fishing pressure on these populations is not affordable."
Echoing a view long held by environmentalists, he added, "If commercial catch is continued on the same level, there simply may not be enough mature beluga sturgeon to support a fishery in the future. The population of beluga needs to be restored to healthy levels of abundance with a normal age structure before sustainable fishing can resume."
Azerbaijan's position went to the heart of the dispute between a coalition of three environmental organizations and CITES, which argues that beluga is not in a precarious situation.
The Wildlife Conservation Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Seaweb grouped together two years ago to create a campaign named Caviar Emptor to save the Caspian sturgeon from the near-extinction suffered by its European and North American cousins.
In addition to persuading chefs at expensive restaurants to take Caspian caviar off their menus and replace it with farmed American roe, Caviar Emptor presented the Fish and Wildlife Service with evidence that the beluga in particular was fast disappearing. As a result, the service three months ago announced plans to ban beluga imports and opened a public - comment period that ended late last month. It was in a letter to the service that Azerbaijan announced its change of heart.
The reversal is all the more startling because CITES has taken as face value estimates from a Russian study last summer that concluded that there were 9.6 million beluga sturgeon in the sea. The estimate, which Armstrong said CITES was not equipped to verify, formed the basis of the CITES finding that beluga were not in a precarious position and its commercial fishing could continue.
But Ellen Pikitch, an ichthyologist who directs the marine program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, one of the three Caviar Emptor partners, recently examined the data and found it wanting.
The Russian study was conducted by a trawler that plied the Caspian Sea for two months last year. The trawler caught 28 beluga, of whom four were young adults, and the rest, or 85 percent, were juveniles. Russian scientists assumed that the trawls caught one out of every 25 beluga in the trawler's path to reach the conclusion that there were 9.6 million beluga in the sea.
"This is an absurd assumption and falls far outside what we have found in the literature," Pikitch said. "The net effect of using this unjustified low value is to overestimate population size by a factor of 25 times."
A reasonable estimate of the beluga population would be 375,000, of which 15 percent, or 56,000, are adult, she said.
In Atyrau, the main town on the Ural River, executives at the single caviar cannery, Atyraubalyk, deny there is any shortage of beluga or any other sturgeon. Yulia Kim, a vice president of the cannery, which was privatized a few years ago, said that last year Atyraubalyk exported 27 metric tons of caviar, including 5 tons of beluga, all of it to the United States. Exports in the past five years have been in the 30-ton range, she said. She cited the Russian estimate of 9.6 million and insisted Kazakhstan's catch was comparatively negligible.
At the crumbling headquarters of the fishermen's union, Kadyrzhan Demeuov, its president, scoffed at these figures. He said that the amount of sturgeon caught by the fishermen is so small that it represents less than 1 percent of the total catch of Caspian fish.
"We now earn very little from sturgeon," he said. "Atyraubalyk sets a low price, and they are the only legal buyer. We are in favor of a moratorium." The union's membership is composed of 3,000 employees of eight fishing cooperatives.
"I remember when we caught more than 50 beluga in a single afternoon," said the president of one cooperative, Sanat Tlepbergenov. "Now we hardly see them." He said that as a member of the city council, he had proposed a moratorium on beluga, "but nobody was interested."
"As long as there is hard-currency income from caviar, the authorities will never make a moratorium," Demeuov said.
His view runs counter to an argument used by the Russian and Kazakh authorities and adopted by CITES which states that income from caviar sales pay for hatcheries and other conservation measures.
He said the money from the export of Kazakhstan's caviar - estimated at more than $10 million per year -- goes to the private owners of the Atyraubalyk cannery, while beluga protection measures go unfunded.
For example, in the Soviet era, all 12 branches of the Ural delta were dredged so the fish could find its way to its spawning grounds. Today, only one channel is dredged and only for 1.5 kilometers.
"The fish can't get in, especially the beluga that is so big, so they stay outside the delta," Demeuov said. "That's where the poachers take them, but even so, a lot of fish die."
"We need money for dredging," said Kanat Sulimeinov, head of the regional fisheries department.
Yelena Bokina, senior scientist at the Kazakhstan Fisheries research Institute in Atyrau, confirmed the fishermen's impression. Each year, her institute carefully counts the number of fish caught in the river to come up with an estimate of the number of fish.
"In 1997, we estimated there were 4,300 beluga, and in 2001 there were 2,700," she said, adding that the natural spawning grounds - areas of pebbles and gravel -- are being filled with mud and that nothing is being done to maintain them. "A third of the spawning grounds have been covered by mud and grass between 1970 and 1994," she said.
© Copyright 2002 THE MOSCOW TIMES all rights reserved as distributed by WorldSources, Inc
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THE ST. PETERSBURG TIMES / Nov 19, 2002
Bison Seek Better Life in Russia
Европейские бизоны прибыли в Россию, где им будут обеспечены условия для выживания и размножения
They once wandered Europe from southern Britain to Russia in the thousands but, now, the European bison, a shaggy-haired cousin of the American buffalo, number a few hundred.
The World Wildlife Fund, with the help of a Dutch truck driver, is trying to give the European bison, or zubry, a better chance of survival by importing them to Russia and releasing them in the vast forests.
Dutch truck driver Ben Buse pulled into the Prioksko-Terrasny nature reserve just outside Moscow late last Wednesday evening with the latest group of immigrant bison in the back. Buse fell in love with the animals on his first trip for the WWF in 1999, and has taken their cause to heart.
Wurella, a medium-sized bison, had left a Swiss zoo the Thursday before and, despite the long journey, was reluctant to leave her hotel on wheels. Perhaps it was the temperature outside - minus 10 degrees - or perhaps the television cameras that put her off, but no manner of persuasion could convince her to be the first to leave the warm truck.
Hanging from the side of the truck, Buse tempted Wurella with a handful of hay, which had her poking her nose out and then going back inside. A carrot left her equally unmoved, as did a cabbage until, finally, after more than an hour of pushing and prodding, she took the plunge and walked out into the large field that had been fenced off for the new arrivals. Six other bison came out on their own accord, but the eighth had died along the way. Although one WWF official thought the five-hour delay at customs in Serpukhov outside Moscow could be to blame, local vets said it was unlikely.
The zubry, or Bison bonasus, are close cousins of the American buffalo. Some scientists claim they are a separate species, with others saying they are a sub-species of the American buffalo.
The European bison nearly died out completely. In 1927, there were only 52 left, all in captivity, but a breeding program managed to reintroduce them into the wild so that by 1999 there were 1,177 bison in captivity and 1,738 in the wild.
The situation in Russia was bleaker. The break up of the Soviet Union led to a drastic drop in the number of bison. Numbering 1,480 in 1991, less than seven years, later there were only 185 in the wild.
The largest drop in the population was in the Russian Caucasus.
"They were nearly all eaten," said Olga Pereladova, a scientist and WWF coordinator for the project.
Since 1997, the WWF has released 54 bison, transported from zoos and breeding programs all over Europe, into Russian forests.
In order for the species to survive in the wild, activists say they need to establish herds of between 500 and 1,000. They hope Russia will play a major role in ensuring the future of the European bison, since it is the only European country with enough forest for the animals to thrive.
The World Wildlife Fund hopes eventually to spread the bison to forests in the Bryansk, Kaluga, Novgorod and other regions.
"Our country shares the responsibility for saving this powerful beast," the WWF wrote in a booklet on saving the European bison issued in August.
The seven Swiss bison will stay in the nature reserve for a month for quarantine and observation. Some will then be moved into other families of bison in the reserve, and some will be released into the wild.
For this last trip, Buse had arranged for sponsors to pay the cost of transportation and had specially built four compartments within the truck, which he jokingly called "the Ritz." When he dished out the carrots he called out "room service" to the animals.
"The bison were very good on the trip, we fed them and gave them water and they had no stress," Buse said. "It takes a lot of my life. It's a wonderful animal. We have to protect them."
"When you look at them you feel calm," he said.
© Copyright 2002 THE ST. PETERSBURG TIMES all rights reserved
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SPACE.com / Thu Nov 7, 2:49 PM ET
Why a Mars Rock Hits Earth Every Month
- By Robert Roy Britt - Senior Science Writer, SPACE.com
Every month, on average, a rock from Mars lands on Earth. Most are never found, but those that have been picked up suggest that the theory for how they get here - having been booted from the Red Planet by very large asteroid impacts - is not fully accurate.
Now a new computer simulation appears to solve the puzzle by showing that relatively small collisions can do the trick.
Scientists know that space rocks ranging from the size of a car to that of a city have hit Mars many times throughout history. In some of these collisions, chunks of Mars are flung into space and never return. Some go on journeys that can last millions of years before being captured by our own planet’s gravity.
Meteorite hunters have found about 26 rocks on Earth that have been identified as having come from Mars (some of these broke apart upon entering the atmosphere, so the 26 rocks were found as about 40 separate pieces).
Scientists had thought it took a serious wallop to instigate these interplanetary exchanges. Yet the new research finds that craters as small as 1.9 miles (3 kilometers) wide on Mars could have been the starting points for rocky odysseys.
This minimum crater diameter is at least four times smaller than previous estimates, the scientists write in an account published today in the online version of the journal Science.
The study was done by James Head and Jay Melosh of the University of Arizona, with Boris Ivanov of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The scientists said terrain covered by weaker material, which might be created in previous impacts, requires larger events to scoot stuff all the way to Earth. That means, they say, that Martian meteorites found on Earth should tend be from a young Mars, a projection that fits with the dating done on actual rocks that have been collected.
In an interview with SPACE.com, Head, who also works for Raytheon Missile Systems, explained what the new simulation reveals.
An asteroid one-and-a-half times the size of a football field slams into Mars at 22,370 mph (10 kilometers per second). The energy of the impact is equal to about 60 megatons of TNT, comparable to the largest nuclear devices ever tested.
A strong shock wave begins to form. The leading edge of the shock wave reflects off the surface from below and interferes destructively with the rest of the incoming shock wave, canceling out the high pressure near the surface. At the surface, the pressure is zero, according to the simulation. Just below the surface, however, the pressure is great.
"The pressure difference accelerates the material to high speed," Head said. "About 10 million fragments averaging 5 centimeters across [2 inches] are accelerated to speeds in excess of 5 kilometers per second [11,180 miles per hour]."
That is the escape velocity of Mars, the speed needed to leave the planet without going into orbit around it.
"According to the celestial mechanics people, about 7.5 percent of this material is destined to land on the Earth," Head says. "More than half of that lands in the first 10 million years after the impact."
Impacts of this size and larger occur every 200,000 years or so on Mars. About once every 2 million years, an impact of this size occurs on terrain suited to the scenario Head and his colleagues lay out. This means fragments from several impacts are in transit all the time.
"This works out to about one Martian meteorite landing on Earth each month," Head said.
These are not the only space rocks that hit Earth, Head points out. While only a few dozen Mars meteorites have been discovered, the total number of space rocks collected on our planet is about 20,000.
© Copyright © 2002 SPACE.com.