''Dr. Evil'' left Kazan? Grant for scandalous surgeon Paolo Macchiarini not extended at Kazan University

''Dr. Evil'' left Kazan? Grant for scandalous surgeon Paolo Macchiarini not extended at Kazan University Photo: kpfu.ru

A scandalous transplant surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, who was fired from the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and then welcomed in the Kazan Federal University, has left the university in Tatarstan. Russian Science Foundation has not renewed the 150-million grant for Macchiarini's project ''Creation of tissue-engineered constructs of the esophagus to replace the damaged organ with the model of non-human primates''. The KFU commented on the situation with the surgeon quite sparingly. The sources of Realnoe Vremya claim that ''Dr. Evil'', as he was dubbed for earlier unsuccessful experiments on humans, has left Kazan.

The grant has not been renewed

Russian Science Foundation did not support the project of Paolo Macchiarini to create tissue-engineered constructs of the esophagus to replace the damaged organ with the models of the lower primates, which he leads. The list of the winning projects of the competition for extension of terms of projects by international research groups does not include the ambitious project of the Italian.

The Kazan Federal University has confirmed the fact that the grant for Macchiarini has not been renewed. The decision of Russian Science Foundation has been published recently, but Macchiarini, as the sources of Realnoe Vremya claim, has disappeared from the University.

Several journalists, including from Sweden, which the Italian left with a big scandal, wanted to meet Macchiarini, to ask him about his scientific activities in Russia, but they were refused and then explained that the surgeon is not either in high school or in Kazan.

Paolo Macchiarini was fired from the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Photo: good-week.ru

The press service of the university could not answer where the Italian went. It is noteworthy that in January, Realnoe Vremya was promised to arrange a great interview with the scientist but only after an article on breakthrough discoveries in the field of transplantation and experiments on primates in the prestigious scientific journal would be published. It was supposed to whitewash the ambiguous reputation of the scientist and to prove that Macchiarini ''eats'' the grant in Kazan with good reason. The material, on which they put high hopes, was not published.

What is more, on 21 March, the journal Nature Communications withdrawn the article by Paolo Macchiarini on the successful transplantation of donor trachea to laboratory rats, published in April 2014 and updated in October 2016.

Bioengineered trachea did not survive

The retraction of the article in Nature Communications is connected with the scandal at the Karolinska Institute. The commission of medical ethics has found that Macchiarini manipulated the facts in his articles on transplantation. His research and operations were not as successful as he wrote about them. After the story was publicized, the Swedish government dismissed the entire leadership of the Karolinska Institute, where Paolo Macchiarini worked.

Macchiarini worked to create a bioengineered trachea, an artificial frame seeded with stem cells of the patient. The surgeon talked about his development as future technology that will solve the problem with donor organs and change the idea of transplantation. Macchiarini conducted experiments on humans. All three of his patients whom he transplanted an invented organ at the Karolinska Institute clinic died.

Macchiarini worked to create a bioengineered trachea. Photo: nbcnews.com

In 2011, Macchiarini came to Russia. The government of the country allocated him a 150 million grant. On the basis of the Kuban State Medical University, there was established the laboratory of regenerative medicine under the surgeon. In 2014, there was another grant (from Russian Science Foundation, which has not been renewed in 2017). In Krasnodar, from 2014, he made four transplantations of the trachea. As a medical journalist Alla Astakhova reported in her blog, only one patient survived. What is more, only due to the fact that the trachea of Macchiarini was replaced with a usual artificial one.

Scientist-star for KFU

In the fall of 2016, Paolo Macchiarini was invited to Kazan as an academic star. Here he continued working under the Krasnodar grant. At the Kazan Federal University, the surgeon headed the laboratory of ''Bioengineering and regenerative medicine'' of the Institute of biology and fundamental medicine. It is unknown whether the leadership of the University knew about the scandals associated with him.

After it became known that the scandalous surgeon was going to work in Kazan, the university was lambasted. The press service had to conduct a massive information campaign for rehabilitation of the new fellow.

At the Kazan Federal University, the surgeon headed the laboratory of ''Bioengineering and regenerative medicine'' of the Institute of biology and fundamental medicine. Photo: kazan.ros-spravka.ru

Despite the fact that the grant has not been extended, on the website of the University Macchiarini is still listed as the head of the laboratory. Judging by information and photos on the website, under him there are three young cute female employees.

As the sources of Realnoe Vremya report, they decided to say goodbye to the Italian.

Realnoe Vremya has requested an official review on the work of the scientist in the Kazan University.

By Darya Turtseva