"I took a training course in the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle, USA) 20 years ago. I was deeply impressed by the Center's wonderful Library. There were several PCs with free access to numerous articles from almost all imaginable medical databases. Internet was much less developed back then." - says Yulia Olshanskaya, the Head of the Cytogenetic and Molecular Genetics Laboratory of Dima Rogachev’s Center for Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Immunology. - "Should I mention that I travelled back home with a suitcase and a box full of copies of the articles from those databases? We craved for information 20 years ago and we are even more craving for it now, since our Lab has grown and we are responsible for 70% of genetic tests that Russian children with cancer undergo to be diagnosed."
Yulia Olshanskaya was one of the first employees of the Dima Rogachev's Center. Yulia says that she dreamt to work in the newly-born hospital and was glad when a job offer from the Center had came. She began her career as the Lab’s Head having only a microscope and a laminar flow cabinet. Together with her two young colleagues Olshanskaya started to perform tests for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). During the first year Lab’s team made tests for 350 children with ALL. The next year they were able to perform tests for 1500 children with ALL and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Now Cytogenetic and Molecular Genetics Laboratory of Dima Rogachev’s Center yearly helps more than 4000 Russian children with precise diagnostic of all forms of cancer.
The Lab is in constant search for the best methods to perform tests. They not only do standard tests (cytogenegtic, in situ hybridization, PCR) that are required for diagnostics. The Lab’s team also performs targeted gene sequencing that along with clinical signs helps doctors to come up with diagnoses for difficult cases. Yulia Olshanskaya says:
“Every day I go and search for information on rare and complicated cases in medical databases. It’s important that we have access not only to abstracts, but also to full-text articles. My ex-boss Valery Savchenko used to repeat that many of young doctors have ‘abstract thinking’. But ‘abstract’ is not from the word ‘abstraction’. ‘Abstract thinking’ means that people read only conclusions from abstracts of the articles and miss details and nuances that are of great importance when one deals with a difficult medical situation. Therefore we are so glad that due to Podari.Life supporters we have subscription for medical journals”.
Yulia Olshanskaya particularly appreciates subscription to peer-reviewed journals, where every article is reviewed by leading scientists in the field. She says that only subscription, donated by Podari.Life provides access to the most recent articles in such journals, while free access allows reading only those articles that were published 1-3 years ago. She emphasizes that it is very important to read not only particular articles in a specific field, but to get a big picture looking through the whole journal for the articles on related topics. And this, as well, is possible due to Podari.Life’s subscriptions.
Work without a research is boring for Yulia and her team. Together with her colleagues Olshanskaya analyses the results of genetic tests, obtained by their Lab, in order to reveal new significant links between their findings and patient’s diagnosis and prognosis. Moreover, the Lab’s team is involved in an international collaboration. They work closely together with prof. Rolf Marschalek’s group (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main · Institut für Pharmazeutische Biologie) and prof Olaf Heidenreich’s group (New Castle Northern Institute for Cancer Research).
The results of the Lab’s research have been presented at the numerous international conferences, has been published in “Annals of Hematology” and coming soon in “Leukemia and Lymphoma” and “Genes, Chromosomes and Cancer”.
Yulia Olshanskaya believes, that patients benefit from the Lab's culture that combines practical approach with the research. She motivates her young colleagues to read medical journals to seek inspiration and new data. Yulia says:
"As a leader of the Lab I can, for sure, get every article I need. I can ask other opinion-leaders, I can write to my European and American colleagues, and they will share with me any manuscript I want. However, my younger teammates lack these opportunities. It is great, that we have subscriptions provided by Podari.Life. Due to them, our young doctors and researches get involved in reading and searching for information. This is a necessary step in their professional advancement”.