International Clinical Research Center opens to Brno and the world
Press Release, October 12, 2012
A ceremony today opened the new premises of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital (ICRC). Along with first patients to gradually move to the new area, where these will be provided with the latest types of treatment of cardiovascular and neurological diseases, clinical research activities will be launched in the new buildings, aiming, at innovative ways, to finding and validating new methods for the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of this group of illnesses, which accounts in developed countries for as many as two thirds of deaths.
ICRC will significantly improve the possibilities of current clinical medicine as well as medical research. The Centre consists of two clinics - Clinic of Cardiovascular Disease and Clinic of Neurology, as well as a large complex of integrated science labs. Both of the clinical workplaces, i.e. Cardiology and Neurology, as well as individual research labs, currently represent the absolute world elite. The unique concept of medical research closely linked to the clinical care allows transferring the latest research results into clinical practice very quickly, thus providing our patients continued access to the state-of-the-art treatments and procedures being developed as part of partnerships of leading local and international experts. Great emphasis will be placed on early diagnosis of these highly serious illnesses and highly individualized treatment of these, respecting the uniqueness of each patient. Simultaneously, extensive preventive medical and research programs have already started, aimed at reducing the incidence of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases in the domestic population, particularly among young and middle-aged, and achieving the maximum possible quality of life of the elderly. For example, the objective of the Kardiovize 2030 prevention program is achieving a change in lifestyle of Brno citizens as well as in the local environment, which will allow the city to become a place with the lowest cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in the country by 2030.
The ICRC's most valuable asset involves experienced medical and scientific teams that had been achieving significant results in the field of clinical medicine and the world of science by the time of the grand opening, as can be illustrated by the number of scientific reports published, grants received, and prizes awarded.
With its international education programs, the ICRC will positively influence improvements in the education of our students and physicians in the field of medicine and related sectors. ICRC will allow our professionals access to the latest information, and with the work of experienced mentors, our experts will be able to gain knowledge comparable to the world leaders.
Powerful in-house research focused on the development of new technologies will allow the ICRC to have a beneficial effect on the development of the knowledge economy in the region, the Czech Republic and Europe. By now, the ICRC's international scientific teams have been working with nearly four tens of leading companies in the country and abroad to develop new technologies, biotechnologies, pharmaceuticals, software and advanced materials, which are expected to begin influencing the development of medicine in the near future. Examples of this are new technologies for the treatment of advanced forms of heart failure, myocardial infarction, life-threatening heart rhythm disorders, hypertension, and stroke.
The construction process commenced in June 2010. "We firmly believed that the European Union would approve the project of the International Clinical Research Center," says Ing. Petr Koška, MBA, the university hospital's CEO. "This actually happened in June 2011, the co-funding by the EU to cover more than a half of the budget, a total of over 2.4 billion CZK. The construction work alone is mainly financed from national sources, i.e. the Ministry of Health and South Moravian Region, and our hospital's own budget while the equipment and operation of the ICRC are funded by the EU grant. I am assured that the International Clinical Research Center will have a fundamental influence on improving the quality of preventive and curative care not just for our patients, but also for those around the world."
Placed in the grounds of the university hospital, the new FNUSA-ICRC building has seven floors above ground and three underground floors. The total area of newly created workplaces is almost 24,000 square meters. The building contains research laboratories of integrated scientific platforms, facilities for the ICRC's international scientific crew, international educational center, and offices of centers to support research teams. It provides high-quality background for the clinic of cardiovascular disease as well as the neurological clinic.
"FNUSA-ICRC is becoming one of the most advanced centers for cardiology and neurology in Europe," says Doc. MUDr. Tomáš Kára, Ph.D., the chief doctor of the International Clinical Research Center, who along with Prof. Virend Somers of Mayo Clinic is the main author of the ICRC project concept. "Similarly as the Olympic Games in London became inspiration for young athletes, it is believed that the ICRC is to inspire young and talented professionals from our country, Europe and around the world to devote their life to medicine and medical research and help develop new methods, processes, technology and medications that can be new hope to those patients whom the present medicine can help only to the partial extent."
At the ICRC, there will be a number of unique scientific laboratories, some of which still do not exist in the world. For example, Laboratory of Ultra-precision Measurement at FNUSA-ICRC will provide special conditions for measuring ECG, EEG, and other signals. The structure of the lab was designed by ICRC experts to allow almost perfect electromagnetic isolation. This is achieved by placing, the lab found 20 m below the surface with its walls made up of a special tank surrounded by natural underground water, as well as by the innovative concept of shielding individual rooms and energy distribution network in the laboratory. In addition to the latest technology, the equipment throughout the complex consists of that already developed by ICRC experts, such as ANNAlab ME-3 Technology, which is approximately an order of magnitude ahead of what is currently provided by the best technology in the market as regards the sensitivity in measuring ECG and EEG signals.
Hi-Tech Lab for Cardiovascular and Cerebral Interventions will be equipped with a combination of cutting-edge imaging technologies and those delivering stereomagnetically navigated operations, thus allowing for implementing the most demanding examinations and procedures, such as introducing miniature probes and stents into the exact place in the heart, brain or other organs, while being crucial for targeted implementing stem cells to specific sites in the body. The lab will enable new perspectives for the treatment of some of the most severe cardiovascular, neurological, and oncological diseases.
Prof. MUDr. Jiří Vítovec, CSc., Head of Internal Cardioangiology at FNUSA,, adds: "To us, International Clinical Research Center is significant in that it supports the care of patients with cardiovascular disease, including scientific research into the issue in its entirety. It will also be an important institution for educating the students of the MU's Faculty of Medicine, and a prestigious postgraduate training center for cardiologists throughout Moravia and the country as well as abroad.
Along with the opening of the new ICRC building, the Memorandum of Establishing the ICRC Brno Foundation will be signed in Vila Tugendhat on Friday evening, October 12. The aim of this institution is to provide support for international cooperation in medical research, education and clinical medicine, particularly in relation to the project of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno.
After CERN and the International Space Station, the ICRC is the third international research center, and the first-ever international center for medical research. Over 300 experts from different professions became involved in the preliminary work concerning the facility, from physicians to molecular biologists or specialists in nanotechnology based in more than ten countries. An important role in it is that of the long-term cooperation between St. Anne's University Hospital and renowned Mayo Clinic, the latter combining a top hospital facility, medical university and one of the leading medical research centers in the world, the ten-year partnership so far yielding results in the form of more than twenty completed research projects, three awarded patents on medical diagnostic equipment, six prototypes of equipment, and seven new software products for the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. In addition to the efforts mentioned above, the involvement in FNUSA-ICRC activities includes experts from several other institutions in the U.S.A., six universities in the EU, and ten academic institutions in the country. Currently, there are 17 international research teams operating at the ICRC, these made up of a total of 307 experts.
What they told about the International Clinical Research Center
Doc. MUDr. Leoš Heger, CSc, Minister of Health of the CR:
"Czech health services and medical research made an important step forward today. I am sure that the activities of the International Clinical Research Centre will have a major influence on improving the quality of health services in the country."
Prof. PhDr. Petr Fiala, Ph.D., LL.M., Minister of Education, Youth and Sports of the CR:
"The FNUSA-ICRC project was born based on intense contacts between Czech and American scientists. The cooperation with prestigious Mayo Clinic is not only the promise of achieving the objectives of the project, but also greatly facilitates the internationalization of our research sector."
JUDr. Michal Hašek, President, South Moravian Region:
"I am happy to see that it is Brno where the International Clinical Research Center is under development and look forward to its activities reflecting very soon in a significantly better health condition of the population of South Moravia."
Photogallery on St. Anne's Hospital web pages