Nikolay Merkushkin: “Samara has the potential to become one of Russia’s major medical hubs”

On 2 September 2014, Nikolay Merkushkin, head of the Samara region administration, and representatives of RUSNANO launched the construction of the Positron-Emission Computerized Therapy Centre (PET-Centre) in Samara. It will be built next to the Samara regional cancer clinic.


The new centre will apply a very unique technology for diagnosing cancers, as well as neurological and heart diseases. The method requires introducing special agents into the patient before he or she is placed in a highly powerful scanner. Thanks to this procedure, it will be possible to detect affected cells at a very early stage.

The creation of this Centre in the region was initiated by the Samara region administration and the RUSNANO group. In February, the administration had already signed an agreement with a subsidiary of the State Portfolio Company, PET-Technology, and it is this company that will operate the future Centre.

The second step was made on 1 August. The Head of the Samara region administration, Nikolay Merkushkin and the Executive Chairman of RUSNANO Management Company Anatoliy Chubais held a high-level meeting, confirming their intention to construct the PET-Centre. Precisely one month later the project began to take shape.

“To begin with it was rather complicated. Many agreements were needed from federal agencies. However, thanks to the personal involvement in the project of Nikolay Merkushkin, the Oblast Head, we managed to overcome these,” the Aide to the Chair of RUSNANO Management Yakov Yarinson stated today. 

The construction site has already been chosen and the foundations will be laid shortly. According to the Medical Director of PET-Technology Pavel Golovin, investment in the project will amount to approximately 320 million roubles. Funds will be put towards construction on a 3,000m² site, and also towards purchase of cutting edge equipment.

“Two PET-complexes will be built on the site. They will assure up to 10,000 patent examinations every year. Another 5,000 procedure capacity unit will be built on the site of the Tolyatti City Hospital,” stated Golovin. The Samara centre will open its doors in 2015. It will create 45 new jobs in the region. The choice of site is no coincidence – patients of the oncology centre will be the main beneficiaries of the PET-CT procedures.

“We will be working in unison. New patients undergoing the PET-CT diagnosis will continue their treatment in our dispensary. Moreover, we will be able to monitor those patients who are already undergoing treatment more carefully. This will increase the effectiveness of the treatment and in turn the life expectancy of the patients,” explained chief physician of the oncology centre, Andrey Orlov. He stressed that the PET-Centre’s services would also be available for those with basic compulsory health insurance policies.

Regional Head, Nikolay Merkushkin came to congratulate residents on the start of construction. He is confident that soon enough Samara would be able to become a major medical hub for Russia. This would be assured by major projects that have been launched by the region in the last two years.  

“At the end of July the construction of a new cardiology centre began – in 18 months’ time we will have one of the most modern complexes in Russia, with a capacity of 12,000 operations every year. What is more, in 2016 Samara will see the opening of a regional perinatal centre on the site of the Kalinin Hospital. At the same time, a “Mother and Child” hospital will be built in the Radiocentre area site,” Nikolay Merkushkin stated to the assembled crowd.

Authorities are pinning particular hopes on the PET-Centre. “Finally we will have the opportunity to diagnose at the very earliest stage of a disease that is a major killer worldwide. This is of huge social significance: the earlier the cancer is detected, the more time a patient has to be cured. Together with RUSNANO we are doing everything we can to ensure the project is delivered as soon as possible,” promised Nikolay Merkushkin.  

The Regional Head met separately with the oncology centre’s doctors. He asked them to be patient with the project’s delivery. “From 2015, changes will be taking place in the compulsory health insurance system: patients will be able to choose themselves where in Russia they receive various services. Therefore we must do everything possible to ensure they come to us. We should create a positive, healthy mindset. Patients should be confident that modern technology and professional doctors will help them leave here healthy,” The Region Head impressed on doctors.

Representatives of RUSNANO also stressed the significance of the project. “Diagnosis with the help of PET and information technology is being widely used the world over. We are working hard to increase the accessibility of cutting edge medical assistance to the population,” Yakov Yarinson stated to the assembled crowd.

He added that the corporation had recently opened its first Nuclear Medicine Centre in Ufa. “BY 2018 we aim to build another 14 such centres. The Samara centre will differ significantly insofar as what has been done here will serve as a model for other regions. Here we will have all the necessary equipment for diagnosis of various types of tumour, research into the vital functions of the heart and differentiated diagnosis for neurological conditions,” concluded the representative of RUSNANO.