Fresh corps with unique equipment, scientists returning to their homeland, scientific discoveries and new properties of familiar drugs. With this and many more than the other legendary Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis has approached its 60th anniversary.
The 60th anniversary of the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis was January 1, but the celebrations decided to hold this week. They opened their conference, where the director of the institute professor mildronate inventor Ivars Kalvinsh talked about the implementation of Innova-Balt – a unique project for the current Latvia costing 5.4 million euros. Within this framework, the newest building of the institute was equipped with the most advanced equipment, where preparations are being created, analogues of which there is nowhere. And for work here brought back from abroad scholars who in the 1990s and zeros drove away from Latvia and settled in the leading medical and chemical laboratories of the USA, Germany, Switzerland, France and other rich countries.
– The main goal of the Innova-Balt project (opened 3 years ago) is to raise the research institute to the highest level. However, we were previously considered almost leading in their field in the world. Of the 5.4 million 4.7, this is direct investment from the EU, while the rest is Latvian investment, “says Ivars Kalvins.
We enter the laboratory topped with super-modern equipment, which was acquired thanks to funding from the European Regional Development Fund, and not just the Innova-Balt project. Now they are busy with the creation of the famous mildronate (the international name is “meltedon“), but the new generation is even more effective. Interestingly, he will also be recorded in doping? The professor has guessed what I think and revealed the main secret of the drug.
– It is absurd to attribute a teddy bear to doping. Back in the 1980s, I and my colleagues began to create a remedy for “bad stress”: to improve the functioning of the heart. In the process of research, it was necessary to climb into the biochemistry of human nature itself and to understand what and how it uses the heart to produce energy.
For this our “motor” needs two kinds of fuel: fat and sugar. Fat during splitting brings twice as much energy as burning sugar. But for the burning of sugars it is necessary less oxygen. The latter is preferably, for example, if the heart lacks oxygen as a result of overload on the body (as is the case with professional athletes working on wear).
And if your blood supply is good, then everything is in harmony: the body itself burns as needed, then one, the other – switches, so that everything is balanced. And if the switch does not happen itself, then it is necessary to help to adjust the work – what did the scientists, creating a teddy bear. It is also consumed by diabetics, as it helps the body to switch more easily to the burning of sugars.
– It is not surprising that the whole team of the same Russia consumed meldonium, because athletes had the most severe load, which means that preparations for normalizing the functioning of the heart muscle (and someone, such as Sharapova, as well as for controlling the high blood sugar content) are needed. But the athlete wins and was in the best shape not because he received an artificial stimulator for over-development of energy, but because thanks to the mildronate the heart worked superbly.
I talked to the WADA officials in Montreal, described in detail the effect of the drug, but they did not want to understand that the protection of the heart from overload and doping is not the same, the scientist emphasized.
The Japanese intercepted a cancer drug in Latvia
In another laboratory – carbo-functional compounds – we met Victoria Ryabova – young doctor of sciences. She was returned to her home country from Germany under the Innova-Balt (and she previously worked in England and the United States).
– Here and now pay so much, and most importantly – guarantees and stability more than in other countries. And the laboratory base here is at such a level that even England and the United States did not dream, – Victoria remarks.
Scientists in the lab are engaged in the improvement of leakadin – and without that unique drug for the control of cancer. In the 1980s, when he only appeared, he was not equal in the world.
But the drug was not lucky to appear at a time when the USSR was already cracking at the seams, and soon Latvia was out of its composition. Russia stopped ordering leakadin, and in Latvia they began to demand that for all local preparations they conducted additional research – already according to European standards.
– Imagine the situation: there is a drug, they are successfully treated with cancer in hospitals, but the new Latvia does not recognize it because it is not in the recommendations of the European associations of oncologists. And where are the research institutes to take money for additional research, when in the 1990s, even salaries did not really pay due to a lack of funding from the state. And leakadin in the end stopped producing in Latvia. The license for it was bought by the Japanese, – remembers the interlocutor.
The same fate could have been in the meldonium, but the “Grindeks” plant (in the past one of the experimental ones at the Research Institute) bought the patent in a timely manner on the drug, invested vast amounts of money – and carried out all necessary additional clinical research according to new standards.
The goal is to always be the first!
– Now we have set ourselves the goal of creating a new generation leakadin. The state refuses to finance development, believes that we are not in a position to create a drug that by its characteristics would be superior to leakadin. However, contrary to the opinion of the “experts”, we are already on the finish line – in the process of constructing the necessary molecule – “active active principle”, – says the professor.
To create unique drugs, he appeared in 1957 at the Academy of Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was actually created by one person – Academician Solomon Aronovich Giller (he was also a professor at the Riga Polytechnic Institute since 1964 and a Latvian State University – since 1973), the author of 80 patents for inventions in the USSR. By the way, the company “Olainfarm” and the Latvian Academy of Sciences are still presenting the Giller Prize, including the achievements of young specialists in medicine. And in the research institute to this day not only maternal scientists work, but students of almost all the largest universities of the republic are trained …
The first original preparations here were nitrofurans – for the control of infectious diseases. Then there appeared anti-tumor imiphos and fluorofur (tegafur). The latter became one of the few drugs in the USSR, exported to Japan. Then there was l-asparaginase: the creation of biotechnological production of this most complex biomolecule for the control of tumors was one of the most advanced advances in pharmaceuticals of that time. As a whole, dozens of medicines have been developed here, including 18 original ones – from heart attack and cancer, for strengthening immunity and treatment of diseases of the central nervous system, and so on.
Secret weapon of the institute
“The goal was always to create highly effective and inexpensive substances that act on the problem, for example, on a tumor, and do not cause significant side effects,” says Ivars Kalvins(medonium inventor).
Many drugs are also being developed in the Pharmacy Pharmacy laboratory in the new building, where Professor Maya Dambrova leads. In the 1990s she left Latvia and worked at universities in Sweden, Switzerland, and Finland. But then he returned, created a laboratory and trained many talented young professionals.
Your correspondents also spent in the closest place of the research institute – in a small building, where, thanks to Ivars Kalvinsh, a mini-production of substances was created (for up to 10 kilograms each).
– I call this place a “secret weapon” of the Research Institute. The state does not seem to notice it … But this is a huge achievement of the institute! Now we have a complete cycle – from the idea of creating one or another substance to its development and testing of production technologies, albeit on an experimental scale. There is nothing like that not only in Latvia, but also throughout the Baltic region, “stresses the professor.