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From the Publisher
June 29, 2015   
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Although life is so precious that it can’t be defined in crude financial terms, money does play a key role. The length and quality of people’s lives are often directly proportional to the level of spending on healthcare. That’s why it’s important to invest generously in the development of new, more effective drugs.

In one case in point, researchers from the Pharmaceutical Research Institute in Warsaw are working on a new generic drug for a type of lung cancer known as non-small cell lung cancer. Once available, the new drug will be put on the market by Polish pharmaceutical company Polfa Production.

Few cancer drugs are produced in Poland. Most are imported. That’s why the National Center for Research and Development (NCBR) has decided to co-finance work on developing a Polish equivalent of a lung cancer drug developed abroad. Thanks to this, patients will have better access to cheaper medical treatment, and taxpayers will also benefit.

The total cost of the project is nearly zl.13 million, with the NCBR contributing zl.10 million of that under its Innomed program.

In another project designed to benefit medicine and co-financed by the NCBR under the Innomed program, Polish geneticists and biotechnologists have developed a 100-percent accurate tissue compatibility test that promises to help reduce the number of rejected transplants in patients with blood cancer.

The test has been developed as part of a project called “Innovative genetic testing based on next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology.” The project started in 2012. Its total cost is zl.4.27 million, with zl.1.08 million invested by research company Centrum Badań DNA (DNA Research Center) and zl.3.19 million in co-financing from the NCBR.

“Genetic testing technology has developed so immensely that we are able, by means of a single test, to examine all the genes responsible for tissue compatibility, using next-generation sequencing,” says Jacek Wojciechowicz, CEO of Centrum Badań DNA, a company based in the western city of Poznań. According to Wojciechowicz, the new test is an international first.

“Poland is a relatively small market, but we have created a universal product that we want to patent,” Wojciechowicz says. “Everyone donating their blood or bone marrow to a blood or bone marrow bank should undergo the broadest possible array of tests determining his or her genetic profile. Information on this subject must be available to physicians throughout the world, in a global database.”

Polish researchers are also working on innovative projects in other fields. One involves a welding method that will be used to produce machines for the paper-making industry designed to operate under high pressures. The method is being developed by Polish industrial equipment producer Metalko together with researchers from the University of Technology and Life Sciences in the north-central city of Bydgoszcz in a project that began in December 2012 and is scheduled to end this August.

As part of the zl.4.7 million project, which has been partially financed by public funds from the NCBR, the Metalko engineers, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Technology and Life Sciences, selected specific types of steel and titanium and then tried various welding methods on them. “We’ve managed to achieve optimal welding parameters,” says Jan Rze¶ny, the project manager from Metalko.

In addition to paper-making, the project is expected to benefit the chemical industry, which also uses high-pressure equipment. Metalko has filed for a patent for the new method.
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