Professor of Oncology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York
Editor-in-Chief, Cell Cycle, Aging, Oncotarget, Oncoscience
Dr. Mikhail Blagosklonny graduated with an MD and PhD from First Pavlov State Medical University of St. Petersburg, Russia. He worked as a research scientist and as a cardiologist and hematologist, treating patients with cardiovascular diseases and leukemia, at the same institution.
Dr. Mikhail Blagosklonny subsequently relocated to the United States, where he was awarded the prestigious Fogarty Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health. During his fellowship in Leonard Neckers’ laboratory at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), he was a co-author of 18 publications on diverse biomedical topics, including targeting HSP90, p53, Bcl2, Erb2, and Raf-1. He also was the last author on a clinical phase I/II trial paper.
After authoring seven papers during a brief yet productive senior research fellowship in the El-Deiry Cancer Research Lab at University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Blagosklonny returned to NCI to work with Tito Fojo. Together, they published 26 papers. In addition, Dr. Blagosklonny published dozens of experimental research articles and theoretical papers as sole author. These sole-author publications encompassed two important themes. The first of these focused on selectively killing cancer cells with deregulated cell cycle or drug resistance by exploiting their resistance. The results and underlying concept were so revolutionary that they were mis-cited by other scientists as “reversal of resistance,” even though the paper was titled, “Exploiting of drug resistance instead of [its] reversal.” One great supporter of this concept was the world-famous scientist Arthur Pardee, with whom Dr. Blagosklonny co-authored a joint paper in 2001.
The second theme throughout Dr. Blagosklonny’s sole-author publications is a research method to produce knowledge by bringing several facts together from seemingly unrelated fields. This results in new concepts with testable predictions, which in turn can be “tested” by analyzing the literature further. Once again, the concept was co-authored by Arthur Pardee in a 2002 publication in Nature. The first success of the new research method was the description of the feedback regulation of p53, as confirmed by the discovery of mdm2/p53 loop; and the explanation why mutant p53 is always overexpressed, published in 1997. The most significant result revealed by Dr. Blagosklonny’s research methods is the hyperfunction (or quasi-programmed) theory of aging and the revelation of rapamycin as an exceptionally well-tolerated anti-aging drug, published in 2006. As mentioned in Scientific American, Michael Hall gives Dr. Blagosklonny credit for “connecting dots that others don’t even see.”
In 2002, Dr. Blagosklonny became associate professor of medicine at New York Medical College. He went on to assume responsibilities as a senior scientist at Ordway Research Institute in Albany, New York, in 2005, before accepting another position at Roswell Park Cancer Institute as professor of oncology in 2009.
Since coming to Roswell Park Cancer Institute in 2009, Dr. Blagosklonny has studied the prevention of cancer (an age-related disease) by inhibiting organism aging—in other words, “preventing cancer by staying young.” His laboratory closely collaborated with Andrei Gudkov’s and conducted research on suppression of cellular senescence, namely suppression of cellular conversion from healthy quiescence to permanent senescence. This led to the discovery of additional anti-aging drugs beyond rapamycin. The cell culture studies were complemented by studies in mice, including several models such as normal and aging mice, p53-deficient mice, and mice on a high-fat diet.
Dr. Blagosklonny has also published extensively on the prevention of cellular senescence by rapamycin and other mTOR inhibitors, life extension and cancer prevention in mice, and combinations of anti-aging drugs to be used in humans. A rapamycin-based combination of seven clinically available drugs has been named the “Koschei Formula” and is now used for the treatment of aging in patients at the Alan Green Clinic in Little Neck, New York. For an interview with Dr. Green, click here.
Dr. Mikhail Blagosklonny has published more than 260 papers in peer-reviewed journals, including Nature, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Reviews Cancer, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (five papers), Leukemia (12 papers), Cancer Research (13 papers), and other top journals. Dr. Blagosklonny is the first, last, or sole author on almost all of his papers. His H-factor is 90, meaning that 90 of his papers have been cited more than 90 times.
Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief
In 2002, Dr. Blagosklonny founded Cell Cycle, then published by the small publisher Landes Bioscience. The launch was spectacular: when the first issue was in preparation, Paul Nurse, a member of the journal’s editorial board, won the Nobel Prize for his discoveries related to cell cycle regulation. The current editorial board of Cell Cycle includes three Nobel Prize winners and other outstanding scientists. Dr. Blagosklonny remains editor-in-chief and has served the journal for more than 16 years.
In 2009, Dr. Blagosklonny and his co-editors-in-chief, Judy Campisi and David Sinclair, founded Aging, abbreviated as Aging (Albany NY) by Medline and Aging-US by Web of Science (WoS). The journal rapidly became one of the leading journals in the field and has published at least seven papers of Nobel Prize winners.
In 2010, Dr. Blagosklonny established Oncotarget together with his co-editor-in-chief, Andrei Gudkov. The journal is famous for its outstanding editorial board, excellent publications, innovative approach, and enormous popularity among scientists. In 2017, Oncotarget published around 10,000 papers, becoming the third-largest journal after PLOS One and Scientific Reports. As calculated in 2017 by WoS, Oncotarget’s latest impact factor (5.168) was higher than Scientific Reports, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Journal of Biological Chemistry, and much higher than PLOS One. In 2017, Oncotarget was by far the largest journal in oncology.
Dominant publishers saw the exponential growth of Oncotarget as a threat to the status quo. In 2015, Oncotarget and its editor became the target of harassment by a few librarians determined to destroy the journal. Though they lacked clear justifications and grounds, the brutal actions of some National Library of Medicine librarians in 2017, followed by Web of Science in 2018, affected scientific progress in cancer research and hurt tens of thousands of scientists. Ironically, almost simultaneously Clarivate Analytics/Web of Science honored Oncotarget as one of 14 “rising star” journals for 2017 based on clear-cut, quantitative data. Thanks to widespread support from leading scientists, Oncotarget has survived and will prosper again.
In 2012, Dr. Blagosklonny founded Oncoscience, a sister journal to Oncotarget, as a unique journal that publishes free of charge for both authors and readers. It can be considered as a “charity” project. In addition, Dr. Blagosklonny has served as associate editor or a member of the editorial boards of such journals as Cancer Research, International Journal of Cancer, Leukemia, Cell Death Differentiation, Cancer Biology & Therapy, American Journal of Pathology, Autophagy, and others.