Biomedical Science Transforming Medicine

Biomedical Science Transforming Medicine

The session ‘Biomedical Technologies: The Foundation of Technological Sovereignty’ was held on the sidelines of SPIEF 2024 with the support of the Federal Medical-Biological Agency of Russia. Leading healthcare organizers, scientists, and knowledge-intensive industry representatives discussed the development of biotechnology, disruptive biomedical products, and the technologies of the future.

The session was moderated by FMBA Head Veronika Skvortsova, who spoke of the nature of biomedical technologies as a dense composite of different scientific disciplines and branches of scientific and technological development, moving with incredible speed and serving as the basis for Russia’s technological sovereignty.   She went on to talk about ready-made technological solutions that sought to create biological and hybrid products and processes to be used in medical diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.

“Our nation’s most important strategic priority is scientific and technological development. This year, the President of Russia signed a decree on a Strategy for the Scientific and Technological Development of the Russian Federation. The Strategy pays special attention to biomedical technologies and outlines a transition to predictive, preventive, personalized medicine, high-tech healthcare, health-saving technologies, the rational use of medicines, genetic data, and technologies and has dedicated an entire section to countering man-made and biogenic threats,” Veronika Skvortsova said.

Speakers discussed the importance of transmitting basic research, regulatory issues related to the development of personalized medicines, and one of biomedicine’s fastest developing areas – neurotechnology. Also discussed were the creation of innovative technical instruments for therapy and rehabilitation, robotic devices, and technologies for active import substitution.

Minister of Health of the Russian Federation Mikhail Murashko spoke of the importance of introducing innovation into medical practice: “The healthcare system must adopt innovative new methods of treatment and diagnosis. All scientific disciplines must, but medical science especially. If we are talking about increasing life expectancy, the obvious priority is disease prevention, therapeutic and preventative vaccines. And there are certainly prospects to be explored, developments, platform solutions. In fact, the entire healthcare system today is practice-oriented and focused on implementing technological developments in practical ways.”

Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation Denis Sekirinsky spoke about the factors affecting the effectiveness of scientific research and the importance of an interdisciplinary approach. “The most important things are the people, the ideas, and the infrastructure that allows talented people to realize their brilliant ideas. Over the last three years, biomedical technology applications to the Russian Science Foundation are up 70%, with the number of projects receiving support up 7% for the same period. This means we have a lot of work to do,” he said.

Deputy President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Chekhonin spoke about the role of the RAS in improving research: “The Academy of Sciences sees its role first and foremost as a systemic transmitter of fundamental research into practice. We believe that all fundamental research should exist to become a product. At the same time, however, the question of how to support fundamental science is also extremely important. And this is where I see the very important role of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This includes cell technologies, immunotherapy, and gene correction. Academic institutions are working as hard as they can to develop these areas. We would like to move from expert activity to practical steps and the adoption of technical tasks, a purely scientific problem. The Academy of Sciences is about developing a platform for uniting fundamental and applied research.”

Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Rector of the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University Sergey Lukyanov addressed the importance of disruptive technologies to sovereignty: “In my opinion, in today’s world no country can be fully self-sufficient in a field that is as complex and knowledge-intensive as biomedicine. There continues to be a fundamental lack of understanding for the human body even today. It is more complex than any computer network or artificial intelligence. We would be interested in sharing and working together with countries in possession of disruptive technologies, platform technologies capable of expansion. We are one of those leading countries that can ensure scientific exchange and interaction in any area.”

Director of the National Research Center – Institute of Immunology Musa Khaitov shared his experience creating unique scientific and technological platforms: “The first platform was related to oligonucleotide and peptide synthesis.  It was established with the support of the Government of the Russian Federation to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. It was used to develop the world’s first and only highly effective COVID-19 drug based on RNA interference. The drug attacks a highly conserved region of the SARS-CoV-2 genome responsible for replication and reproduction of the virus, and we can see that although the virus changes, the effectiveness of the drug does not. Now there is an outbreak of the FLiRT variant of Omicron, and the drug remains effective.”

The Institute has developed a platform that can be used to create genetically engineered recombinant vaccines to combat allergens, and it has already been used to develop a vaccine for cross-reaction between birch pollen and food.

Veronika Skvortsova wrapped up the session by thanking the speakers for the interesting discussion and shared some wisdom: “Those who came before us would say that knowledge was one and that it was only divided into disciplines as a concession to human weakness.” The moderator ending by wishing all success in their work and encouraging cooperation amongst the different sectors to benefit the health of all.

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