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B. Arya: Anti-cancer vaccine that I developed will be used in the USA

By B.DULGUUN

The following is an interview with the senior researcher of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Immunology of the National Institute of the USA, B.Arya. He is the son of renowned scientist and academician PhD Sh.Bira of Mongolian Science and Ethnography. 

-Where are you from originally and where did you receive your education?

-I’m a native of Ulaanbaatar. I finished high school here then got my PhD at the Institute of Molecular Biology of Engelgardt and Academy of Sciences of Moscow. After that, I worked as a researcher at the Institute of Molecular Biology of Hungary and Russia. Since 1991, I’ve been living and working in the USA.

-What does your research focus on?

-My research focuses on the immunological paradox of aging and autumn, and developing more effective immunotherapy (treatment of disease by inducing, enhancing or suppressing an immune response) for elderly people.

More than 60 of my articles on this subject appeared in reputable international scientific publications. I got 12 patents for basic researches and theories against cancer.

-You received your PhD at the age of 30 and currently work in one of the divisions of the USA National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute on Aging (NIA). Can you tell us more about your work?

-It is a large and affiliated institute of the NIH that’s funded by the state. It receives a budget of 30 million USD each year which is also used for funding research and major research projects for the health sector of America and the rest of the world. Around 80 percent of the state funding is spent on them and the rest on researches in the USA. In total, there are 27 institutes and centers that conduct research for the NIH and one of them is NIA.

-How long have you been working for NIA?

-I did my postdoctoral training, after my studies at the University of Illinois and then in the National Cancer Institute. I started working at the NIA from 2003 as a tenure-track investigator at the Laboratory of Immunology and, since 2011, tenured senior investigator at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Immunology. Currently, our laboratory has a small working group of five researchers. The institute receives funding from the state but it does not mean that our workplace receives it all the time. We work for a certain time period and few receive tenure rights based on the outcome of their long hard work. A tenure right is an incentive to be waged for all your life with no definite retirement age. I was given this right.

-One of your twelve patents is going to be used at Anderson Hospital. Can you elaborate on this?

-Most of my patents are on how to create immunity against cancer and changing its effects. A long time ago, I created a vaccine against gallbladder cancer and tested it on animals. The patent is only given to experiments that no one else tried or even thought of doing and this anti gallbladder cancer vaccine was one such experiment. Now, Anderson Hospital is going to apply the discovery.

-You and your team discovered the cell that weakens immune system against cancer. Is it also one of your patents?

-For a long time, it was considered that cell components of cancer immunity system became active and destroyed cancer. However, during research, it was proved that there were other cells. They were cells that made regulations to protect immunity cells. In other words, it means that there is a third party that interferes. While inspecting pictures during the research, a different group of cells other than cancer immune cells were discovered. By consulting with researcher Purevdorj, we found that it was a B cell. After researching more, it was proved that B cells combines together to create T cells which weaken cancer immune cells.

-Do Mongolian researchers work with you?

-Yes. Since I have the right, I always try to keep a Mongolian in my group.

-So you were given this patent because it was viewed as a new discovery for the human health?

-At the time, we even received four patents. The anti cancer vaccine is not very effective to patients with cancer. We found a way to make it more efficient and simpler and this is what Anderson Hospital is trying to use. The rest are already being used in small institutions and hospitals.

As I’m doing research on aging, I’m also researching diseases that affect it. One of them is Alzheimer. I made a supplement but it was stopped before it was put on trial because it is considered that it affects TC cells of the human body. Every research and experiments are supposed to help human health and not be harmful. This is why we test it beforehand on animals like mice, and then test the verified vaccine on elderly people. The vaccine we developed proved only 10 percent effective. Now, a thesis to enhance efficiency is showing results.

-What other significant research works are you doing now?

-I’m going in two directions. I’m researching the cells that escape from cancer immune cells and to find out how to “catch” them. The other is a research on factors effecting aging – ways to create new immune cells against it and stop aging. Even though, mice and humans have gone through thousands of years of evolution, they both age. Last year, we discovered that cells affecting aging are in both of their bodies. Since we’ve already discovered this, we are now researching ways to develop the immune system against it.

-When do you think that it’ll be possible to cure cancer?

-Progressive works increasing the life span of cancer patients are being done by scientist all over the world. However, it varies as cancer spreads out to several organs from many cells. For instance, women with breast cancer didn’t live long, but now they are able to live for five to ten years. As for other types of cancers, we can at least lessen the pain. Much progress has been made against cancer, we will be able to cure cancer someday.

-Our country has an average life expectancy of 67 years. Some researchers consider that it’s possible for human biological age to be over 100. What do you think of this?

-I think it’s possible to live for more than 100 years. Soon, healthy people will be able to live for up to 90 years. For this, one’s will to live, food and nutrition and physical activity are more effective than medication. What I’m interested in and working on is how to improve the immune system and development of vitamins and vaccines.

-Apart from that, the environment and air needs to be clean. But air pollution has reached its limits in central settlements and it’s obvious that it affects aging. Can you share your thoughts on this subject?

-Sure. Air pollution is very harmful to the human body. This is why we should develop healthy lifestyles and habits, and teach our children from a young age. The government needs to actively work on decreasing and eliminate air, water and soil pollution.

Additionally, obesity in Mongolia is rapidly increasing. This has nothing to do about today’s appearance but becomes the seed of tomorrow’s illness. I’m concerned about the high likelihood of many spending their money on health issues. In America, people with good education, knowledge and wealth are able to take care of their body while those with low incomes often suffer from obesity. There’s also the negative aspect of using up state budget for medication for these people as they are unable to pay. In Mongolia, in general, people became obese. We need to eat correctly and get out of our big cars and move. Health organizations should inform and promote this to the public.

Furthermore, people are treat ancient monuments and buildings carelessly, and education and development projects are being delayed. In my opinion, I think that no country or nation can develop without developing science and technology. The government needs to support arts and culture and science. Business will develop as long as it has freedom.

-In today’s Mongolia, young people are excelling in every sector. However, the science sector seem a bit behind. What are your thoughts on the matter?

-The government isn’t giving enough support. Although we work abroad, I believe that we are bringing up the reputation of Mongolia to the world and are contributing in Mongolia’s science sector. I’d like to tell young people working in research organizations to keep moving forward and if they get the opportunity to work abroad, choose the biggest company. Science is not today’s profit, but tomorrow’s competition for the future.

 

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Posted by on Feb 21 2014. Filed under Топ мэдээ. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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