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The Warsaw Voice » The Polish Science Voice » December 21, 2012
The Polish Science Voice
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December 21, 2012   
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Researchers studying diseases like breast cancer can be compared to soldiers fighting an enemy on the battlefield. Like military analysts and strategists, researchers have to identify the enemy, get to know him better and finally eliminate him. They must study the situation, deploy the necessary equipment, and draw up action plans.

One such researcher is Anna Żaczek, Ph.D., from the Medical University of Gdańsk in northern Poland, who, together with her team and equipped with funds from the National Center for Research and Development (NCBiR), is working on a method to pin down and characterize cancer cells detached from the primary tumor and circulating in the bloodstream. These cells have the potential to trigger the formation of metastases. The enemy must be identified, so new tumor markers are needed. Tumor markers are substances found in the blood that are indicative of a particular disease process; they are used in oncology to help detect the presence of cancer. And Żaczek’s team is working on such markers. This is not an easy job; analysis of disseminated tumor cells, or cells shed from a primary tumor and circulating in the bloodstream, is a rapidly changing and difficult area of research. Therefore not many researchers work in this field, which, however, opens up attractive commercial prospects. Żaczek’s team is preparing to patent its research results in what is a prelude to future collaboration with industry.

To even more strongly emphasize the team-up between researchers and industry, which is a key focus of The Polish Science Voice, we visit the city of Bydgoszcz, where an innovative Gama Marathon locomotive has been developed by the local rolling stock manufacturer PESA SA in collaboration with the TABOR Rail Vehicles Institute in Poznań. The locomotive has aroused much interest among rail vehicle producers. It is one of the first rail vehicles of its kind in the world that combines a set of electric motors with a diesel engine. The latter allows the locomotive to be used in areas where there is no electric traction, such as seaports or depots. Up to now, locomotives with such technology could only be bought from internationally renowned companies such as Siemens and Bombardier. The innovative Polish locomotive is not only on a par with the most modern machines produced by leading manufacturers in terms of technical specifications, but it surpasses them in terms of driver’s cab equipment.

The Poznań institute is no stranger to innovation and Bydgoszcz’s PESA is an active market player. PESA’s vehicles are used in countries including Italy, the Czech Republic, Romania, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus. The Bydgoszcz company recently signed a record 1.2 billion euro contract for the supply of rolling stock for Deutsche Bahn Regio AG, and earlier it signed a contract for delivery of 12 Link units with another German carrier, Regentalbahn AG.

The total cost of the Gama Marathon project was zl.27.5 million. Poland’s National Center for Research and Development provided around zl.8.6 million in co-financing. The new locomotive will soon hit the tracks in Poland and abroad.
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