Friday, 29 October, is World Stroke Day, an annual observance by the World Stroke Organization. Stroke affects one in four people in their lifetime and one third of all cases end in the death of the patient. At the same time, stroke is the most common cause of permanent disability. Stroke can be recognised by three symptoms. Quick medical intervention can save a patient’s life and lead to a full recovery. That’s why on October 29, the Public Health Group of the Cerebrovascular Research Program at International Clinical Research Center at St. Anne’s University Hospital (FNUSA-ICRC) is preparing a live broadcast to spread stroke awareness.

Stroke affects more Czechs annually than heart attacks. The latter affects around 22,000 people each year, while stroke affects around 25,000 per year. Although the average age of a stroke patient is around 70, the number of younger patients is increasing worldwide.

One of the young patients treated after a stroke attack at St. Anne’s University Hospital (FNUSA) is Eliška Nováková. She suffered a stroke at the age of 20. “I had a stroke in the morning, but we didn’t call an ambulance until the afternoon and I was taken to the operating room at six in the evening. The doctors told my parents that it was a miracle that they saved me. I forgot to speak and took my first steps only after a few weeks in hospital,” she says of her experience. Today, eight years later, she still practises her speech and mobility daily. She shares her story with others through the blog „Girl with a Disability“. (

Like Eliska, many people underestimate the symptoms of a stroke. That’s why they come to the care of doctors too late. The consequence is a high rate of death and permanent disability. “The most common symptoms of stroke include limited mobility or paralysis of the limbs on one side of the body, drooping of the corner of the mouth and unintelligible or confused speech,” lists prof. MUDr. Robert Mikulík, Ph.D., who is the head of the Cerebrovascular Research Team of the FNUSA-ICRC.

Time plays the most important role in stroke treatment. Every minute, a patient loses two million neurons, so it is essential to immediately call the emergency services on 155 when recognizing at least one of the symptoms described above. “Treatment should ideally be started within an hour of the onset of symptoms. The later the patient gets to medical care, the more the chances of a cure decrease,” explains prof. Mikulík.

Rapper MC Gey also raps about stroke in a new awareness video. He drew on his own experience when writing the lyrics – two of his loved ones have survived strokes, but each with differently severe consequences. The clip, aptly titled Corner, will premiere live on a Facebook event called World Stroke Day, which kicks off at 2pm on Friday. In addition to the new video clip, those interested can look forward to an online program full of information and tips. The online event will include an interview with Eliška Nováková, information about risk factors, prevention, and what happens to a patient after being transported by ambulance to the hospital. The virtual guided tour will be conducted by prof. Robert Mikulík.







Saste Roma – Improving Health in Excluded Localities project is funded by EEA Grants 2014-2021, project no. ZD-ZDOVA2-002.ILN logo

MUDr. Zdeněk Stárek, Ph.D. from the St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno has won the Jesenius Award, which is intended for doctors who have made the greatest contribution to the progress in medicine. The winners of the Jesenius Prize are nominated by professional and interest organizations, and a specific person is selected by a committee of experts under the auspices of the Patients’ Union.

Zdeněk Stárek is the head of the electrophysiology department at the First Internal Cardiac Angiology Clinic of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno and the Faculty of Medicine of the Medical University of Brno, as well as the head of the Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology research team of the International Clinical Research Centre of the FNUSA. “I appreciate the award very much, but it is the result of cooperation of the entire research team and other partners, so I see it as a team award,” said MUDr. Stárek. Director of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák added: “Of course, I am happy for every award for the excellent work of our experts. It is all the more important when success in the field of science comes together, which in turn translates into successful treatment of patients. This is a concrete example of how beneficial the connection between a hospital and a science centre is. Congratulations to Dr. Stárek.”

Zdeněk Stárek received the award in particular for his contribution to the Czech patent and utility model of the alternating electroporation generator, which is a non-thermal energy source that enables ablation of the heart muscle during catheter treatment. The new solution will particularly help patients with cardiac arrhythmias and in earlier diagnosis of several types of cancer. Thermal radiofrequency energy is currently used as a standard treatment for cardiac arrhythmias, i.e. ablation (literally stripping) of abnormal heart tissue, but it can damage surrounding structures such as the oesophagus. The Czech patent is registered together with the Brno University of Technology.

The Doctor of the Year poll has long-standing auspices of the Czech Medical Society J. E. Purkyně. This year it was held for the thirteenth time.


The International Clinical Research Centre at St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno will have a new director from January 2022. Prof. MUDr. Irena Rektorova, Ph.D., was selected on the basis of a selection procedure.

Prof. MUDr. Irena Rektorová, Ph.D., a prominent Czech neurologist and scientist, is currently working as a research group leader at the Central European Institute of Technology CEITEC of Masaryk University and as a neurologist at the First Neurological Clinic of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno. She will take up the position of Director of FNUSA-ICRC in the new year 2022.

This year, the International Clinical Research Centre (FNUSA-ICRC) will conclude one of the most challenging chapters in its history, namely a demanding restructuring. It was with this task in mind that interim director Pavel Ivanyi, MBA, LL.M., took up his post a year and a half ago. “I am pleased to have been able to contribute to the successful ‘anchoring’ of the Centre at a time when we have had to make a number of changes due to reduced funding. The time has now come when we need a scientist with the skills of a manager to lead the whole institute and take this great institution forward,” said Pavel Ivanyi.

Professor Irena Rektorova is looking forward to her new position, and so far she has only commented briefly: “This is a very demanding challenge, and my clear priority will be excellent research.”

The director of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno, Ing. Vlastimil Vajdak added: “Prof. Irena Rektorova is a great expert, well-known in the field of neuroscience not only in the Czech Republic. I consider her future engagement in our International Clinical Research Centre to be an excellent choice and I believe that under her leadership the research teams will achieve even more significant results.”


The sixth annual conference Cannabis and Science was held at the Brno Observatory and Planetarium. The purpose of the event is to evaluate the development of research and treatment with cannabis, education and news in this field. The conference was attended by 160 people from the ranks of doctors, biologists, researchers, scientists, students and patients.

Due to epidemiological conditions, one of the main speakers, Lumír Hanuš, a Czech chemist and scientist living in Israel. Despite this, the conference had a very busy programme. “On the agenda were topics ranging from basic research, i.e. the study of genetics, through the plant itself, cultivation, processing, the creation of medicinal preparations to clinical trials in our country and in the world. In the afternoon part, there was also experience from the perspective of doctors and patients,” said MVDr. Václav Trojan, Head of the Clinical Pharmacology Unit of the International Clinical Research Centre at St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC).

The conference originally started as an event of several enthusiasts who were involved in cannabis research. Now it has international participation, including professors from different disciplines. All agree that cannabis has a future. “Thanks to the changes that are taking place in the Czech legislation regarding cannabis, we are on the threshold of a period when we will move perhaps more steps in this area than in the past. This will help us to further intensify the connection between research and patients,” said FNUSA-ICRC Director Pavel Iványi.

St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno is a leader in cannabis treatment in the Czech Republic. “We are currently treating 240 patients with cannabis for chronic pain of various origins, up from 220 last year. The biggest increase was recorded at the beginning of 2020, when it was decided that 90 percent of the prescribed medical cannabis would be covered by health insurance. Until then, there were only dozens of patients,” added the head of the FNUSA Pain Management Centre, Radovan Hřib, MD, who is also involved in cannabis research at the FNUSA International Clinical Research Centre.

“In the last two years we have achieved many things, such as the establishment of the Cannabis Research Centre or the commissioning of a cannabis cultivation facility for research. I am delighted to be part of a journey that starts with genetic information and ends with the patient. I am proud and grateful that we can develop something like this in this combination and I dare say we are the only ones in the world. At St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno we have scientists, doctors and patients in one place, which is really unique,” added Václav Trojan.

cannabis and science

The Large Research Infrastructure CZECRIN was created based on close cooperation between Masaryk University, and the International Clinical Research Centre of the University Hospital at St. Anny in Brno passed the international evaluation of research infrastructures with the total number of points.

The Large Research Infrastructure CZECRIN, which supports academic clinical trials and connects university hospitals, universities, and research centers in the field of biomedicine, has achieved an excellent evaluation in the last international evaluation of research infrastructures in the Czech Republic, announced and coordinated by the Ministry of Education. CZECRIN thus received recommendations for financing in the coming years. “We are particularly pleased that we have defended the highest possible evaluation from the previous 2018 evaluations. Since then, we have not only maintained a high level of infrastructure but have also significantly developed its activities,” adds Lenka Součková, national infrastructure coordinator and assistant professor at the Institute of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University.

Since the last evaluation, after which the infrastructure also became a full member of the European ECRIN network (status valid since 2018), CZECRIN has expanded its expertise, thus expanding the areas of support for medical facilities and research. CZECRIN offers its members comprehensive support in the field of clinical research in all its phases. An All-In-One scheme provides researchers with consultation, management, and coordination of clinical trials, regulatory expertise, pharmacoeconomic studies and offers research access to a unique certified GMP unit for research and development of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMP).

The infrastructure has also given rise to industry-oriented networks to facilitate cooperation in individual research areas (e.g., STROCZECH – Czech Stroke Research Network, CZECRIN ONCO) and is constantly expanding its reach and support. “It is a unique connection between researchers-physicians and the already existing research network, which helps them to implement their ideas for the implementation of academic clinical studies. Industry-oriented networks reflect leading research areas in medicine, and thanks to involvement in CZECRIN, it is possible to verify directly and subsequently apply innovations to patient care.” explains doc. MUDr. Regina Demlova, Ph.D., director of Infrastructure and Head of the Institute of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University.

This year, CZECRIN is part of 92 national and 22 international projects focused on clinical research to optimize human health care.

The Kardiovize team from the International Clinical Research Centre of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno has prepared preventive examinations for the public, aimed at the possible detection of cardiometabolic diseases. Interested people will undergo a medical examination by a doctor, a sonograph or a nutritional counsellor.

Preventive check-ups – especially for cardiometabolic diseases – are very important. “According to the results of our Kardiovize study, approximately 60% of the adult population in Brno meets the criteria for starting lifestyle intervention programmes at an early stage of the disease. Our centre can contribute to the detection and stratification of at-risk subjects and provide effective interventions. Currently, the Kardiovize Lifestyle Centre offers screening and lifestyle interventions as part of primary prevention (i.e. before the onset of any complication). Effective interventions in the early stages of the disease prevent the development of complications and are especially designed for people who are overweight – obesity, prediabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes – but without the presence of complications (stroke, heart attack, etc.),” said Juan Pablo Gonzalez Rivas, head of the Kardiovize research team, adding: “Unhealthy lifestyles are the cause of most common diseases worldwide. Unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption are the main drivers of non-communicable diseases. Lifestyle medicine offers an opportunity to prevent these diseases and complications in their early stages.”

Kardiovize is offering three packages to interested parties based on the number of tests and collections. This is a paid service. For more information, interested parties can visit the website at or contact Kardiovize experts directly at 549 185 592, 603 299 683 or email


The St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno has launched a trial run of its own experimental cannabis cultivation facility. It has become the first medical facility in the Czech Republic to grow medicinal cannabis. For the time being for research purposes.

St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA) is the leading Czech institution in the development and use of medical cannabis treatment. “We use it at our department for pain treatment. It also has indications for the treatment of many problems in other medical fields. In general, cannabis treatment raises a number of unanswered questions, yet it meets the requirements for high safety breadth. For further development of treatment and understanding of the effects, we want to follow up the clinical practice with research,” said Radovan Hřib, MD, Head of the Pain Management Centre of the Anaesthesiology and Resuscitation Clinic of FNUSA and the Faculty of Medicine MU, and added: “The cultivation facility will allow us to have our own, precisely defined material for pharmacological, preclinical or other clinical research without additional huge costs. This includes, for example, new therapeutic forms such as extraction tailored to the patient, the development of other medical varieties of medicinal cannabis, modern forms of drugs with, for example, nanoparticles, etc.”

“Our hospital was the first state medical facility in the Czech Republic to start using medical cannabis. For the first time ever, we also introduced its use in capsules, which are produced by our pharmacy. The cultivation and research is therefore the logical next step,” said the director of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák. “We hope that in the foreseeable future, with the change of legislation in the Czech Republic, we will be able to use the grown products not only for science and research, but also as medicines. The effort to link the scientific, medical and business strategies of FNUSA and FNUSA-ICRC is one of our strategic goals and the way we want to go,” added Pavel Iványi MBA, LLM, Executive Director of the International Clinical Research Centre of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC).

The combination of clinical and research at FNUSA is ideal thanks to its International Clinical Research Centre. “Connecting our own research cultivation facility to the teams at our research centre brings countless research opportunities literally under one roof. This connection and the guarantee of standardised material for our own research, in addition to the possibility of applying the results in practice, i.e. with patients, is even unique in the world,” emphasised MVDr. Václav Trojan, Ph.D., Head of the Clinical Pharmacology Unit of the International Clinical Research Centre of FNUSA.

The hospital already has a special permit to handle plants with high THC content. The cultivation plant is now in trial operation. “The cannabis grown must be of pharmaceutical quality. For example, there must be no introduction of infection from outside. Workers must observe strict hygiene measures, the possibility of pathogens being transferred from clothing or hands is a major risk. This is one of the reasons why only a very limited number of people have access to the growing areas,” explained Václav Trojan, adding that it goes without saying that no pesticides or other substances are used to promote plant growth or yield. “We have chosen a basalt wool growing system with drip irrigation control. There is also precise monitoring and control of all external factors – light, heat or humidity. We will be able to fully control and monitor the growing equipment online and remotely.”

The actual operation of the grow room is one part of the cannabis research. Scientists will investigate the effects of external conditions on the growth of the plants or the actual production of content in the inflorescence. “The extract obtained is actually a mixture of active substances from the cannabis plant. Some of them like THC have detailed effects. But what about the others? Scientists are working hard to isolate the substances and study them separately. For example, CBD cannabidiol is of great interest for its regenerative properties after exertion. Research into the preclinical part, i.e. the possibility of processing the flower for other forms of application, will also be carried out in the pharmacy areas of our clinical pharmacology unit. There are a number of methods of extracting the contents – mechanical, by organic solvents or through carbon dioxide. The extract obtained is the basis for the preparation of creams or suppositories, for example. There are many possibilities, and our research will be able to map everything thoroughly thanks to the cultivation facility,” summarises scientist Václav Trojan.

The substances extracted from cannabis, or mixtures thereof, will be tested first on cell cultures by scientists from the International Clinical Research Centre at St. Anne’s University Hospital. “The road to a clinical trial is very long for substances that are expected to become medicines. For dietary supplements, which include CBD cannabidiol, for example, it is easier. That’s why a clinical trial with CBD substances and CBD nano-forms will take place this autumn. It involves monitoring one parameter in 30 volunteers. The whole process from the preparation for the study to its completion takes a year,” added Václav Trojan. “The main goal of the whole research is the development of cannabis treatment. It has many unexplored areas and so far also many poorly scientifically based promising results. The most elaborated is the treatment of pain, but the use in neurology or dermatology also seems very promising. The question of research is definitely not a question for one “summer season” but a comprehensive development of the whole scientific discipline on the cannabis plant,” added Radovan Hřib.

Press Conference Press Conference Cannabis plant

How to improve health not only in excluded localities is solved by the project Saste Roma (Healthy Roma), which started in the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno. The three-year project aims to increase health literacy about the most serious diseases and a number of experts across the Czech Republic are involved in its solution.

The average life expectancy for Romani men is 57 and for Romani women 65 years. This is approximately 18 years less compared to the majority population. Compared to the majority of the population, Roma also suffer twice as often from multiple diagnoses (more than one serious disease). It is often due to ignorance of how to take care of their health, lack of information and support for lifestyle changes or shyness from visiting a doctor. This should be changed by the Saste Roma project aimed at the prevention of serious diseases in excluded localities, the most frequent inhabitants of which are the Roma.

The result of the almost three-year project will be a number of educational tools, from information brochures, through cultural events, educational e-learning, to a mobile application. “The project will focus on the development, implementation and evaluation of a multi-year health campaign in excluded localities. We will cover the most serious diseases, whether cerebrovascular, cardiovascular, oncological or mental illnesses, “explained Hana Maršálková, head of the Saste Roma project and head of the Public Health group within the Cerebrovascular research program that implements the project. “Online tools, applications and awareness-raising events will also be available and usable for the general public, and we also dedicate a special part to schoolchildren,” added Maršálková.

An expert team is working on the outputs, which now includes about 40 experts from the ranks of doctors, sociologists, educators, health marketing specialists and experts on excluded localities. A number of institutions also took part in the project – several clinics of the St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno, the University Hospital Brno or the Masaryk Memorial Cancer Institute. An important factor of success will also be the involvement of field workers from the State Health Institute, the Regional Hygiene Station or organizations supporting Roma communities.

“Every project focused on the health of the population in socially excluded localities is very much needed and the positive effects on the health of the population are also reflected in the overall improvement of the social situation,” confirms the importance of the project MUDr. Marie Nejedlá, Head of the Public Health Support Center of the State Institute of Public Health. Dr. Nejedlá and her team of field workers will ensure the dissemination of the project’s educational tools directly in the target communities.

“The project will be complemented by a questionnaire survey in the target areas, which map the knowledge and attitudes of the population and also verify how effective the health intervention was. Thanks to the scientific approach, we want to ensure that the project and its follow-up activities will be as effective as possible, “concludes Professor Robert Mikulík, expert guarantor of the project from the St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno and guarantor of the cerebrovascular diseases section.


The Saste Roma project – Developing health in excluded localities is financed from the EEA Funds 2014-2021, project no. ZD-ZDOVA2-002.

The involvement of the SZÚ takes place within the project Effective support of the health of persons at risk of poverty and social exclusion OPZ ESF, reg. No. CZ.03.2.63 / 0.0 / 0.0 / 15_039 / 0009439.


Thank you for your great interest, the study is already full.

Do you want to prevent the development of diabetes? Not satisfied with your weight? Are you not feeling well in your body? These three questions are part of the campaign for recruitment to a new project to support the right lifestyle, which will start during the holidays at the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC).

The pilot research project will be implemented by the Kardiovize research team, where scientists will focus on diseases associated with poor lifestyle. “We will first evaluate an individual’s current condition, such as physical activity, medical history, or eating habits, and use this information to determine the risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” said Juan Pablo Gonzalez Rivas, head of the research team. This will be followed by a consultation with a doctor, nutritionist and trainer in order to draw up a three-month individual plan. Its goal will be to motivate the patient to lose weight, and related improvements in glucose, lipids and blood pressure – in short, to improve his health and quality of life.

Anyone aged 25 to 75 years with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 kg / m2 and 40 kg / m2 can be included in the study. Determining the approximate BMI is simple, just a calculator. It is the ratio of weight and square root of height in meters. The pilot project will run for a total of six months, after a medical examination and examination by a nutritional therapist, the selected individuals will begin a lifestyle change program under the guidance of a specialized coach. Blood samples will also be taken during the study to measure blood fats and sugars.

“It is really a challenge for us, and if it succeeds on a local scale, we would like to expand this program for the entire Czech population. We want to help as many people as possible,” added Gonzalez Rivas.

Who we are looking for: people in the age 25–75 years, whose body mass index (BMI) value is in the range of 25 kg / m2 to 40 kg / m2 (BMI calculation: weight / square root of height in meters).

How will the project go? The project will last 6 months, during which time the selected candidates will undergo a medical examination and an examination by a nutrition therapist. After your first visit to the doctor, you should begin a lifestyle change program led by a lifestyle coach.
Meetings with the coach will take place weekly for three months and then every two weeks until the program is completed. In total it will be 16 sessions. Each session will last one hour at a time. You will receive discussion materials at each session. At home, you should record the amount of food and drink consumed, as well as the type of physical activity and its duration. Records should be kept throughout the project, ie 6 months.
During the study, blood samples will be taken to check your blood fats and sugars at baseline, after two months, and at the end of the study. If the test reveals high levels of blood pressure or blood fats, your doctor will recommend appropriate treatment in addition to lifestyle recommendations during the consultation.
Due to the current situation, which is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible to interview the coach, both in person and online.

For whom the project is not suitable: if you suffer (or have suffered) from any of these diseases, participation in the program is unfortunately not possible for you: proven diabetes, cancer, ischemic heart disease, stroke, angina pectoris, peripheral vascular disease, heart failure or kidney disease, other serious kidney disease, osteoarthritis of the knee, ankle or hip joint, moderate to severe lung disease, or other disease that prevents moderate physical activity. Participating in the project is also not suitable for you if you are taking certain medications, such as chemotherapy, blood thinners and medicines that affect body weight (for example, orlistat, pregabalin, etc.). Another exclusion criterion is pregnancy or pregnancy planning during the project, or if you know in advance that you will not be able to attend most sessions of the program.

Project start: June 2021 (recruitment), July (start of intervention)

Please note that once the capacity is filled, recruitment to the project will be completed.

How to apply for the project?
You can apply by phone at 543 185 592, 603 299 683 (on working days, between 9.00 am and 3.00 pm) or via the email address

Thank you for your great interest, the study is already full.
We will be happy to answer any questions. From all applicants, applicants meeting the project criteria will be selected and subsequently invited to participate.

We are looking forward to collaborate with you.

Prevent activation of the cellular receptor, which slows growth and causes achondroplasia. A groundbreaking method of treating genetic disorders of growth has been described by scientists from the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) and Masaryk University in Brno, together with Japanese colleagues.

The key substance in this case is an RNA aptamer with the James Bond name RBM-007, which acts as a ligand trap. Ligands are usually small proteins that form complexes with cellular receptors and can activate them. In the case of achondroplasia, it is the FGFR3 receptor whose increased activity slows the growth of cartilage cells. An aptamer is an engineered portion of a ribonucleic or deoxyribonucleic acid that binds to a ligand that can no longer activate FGFR 3 receptors, thereby preventing growth disorders.

Pavel Krejčí, head of the FNUSA-ICRC Cell Signaling research team, contributed significantly to this discovery. “The Japanese company developed this RBM-007 for the treatment of AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration), however, we noticed its potential for the treatment of growth disorders and started working in this area,” Krejčí described the beginnings of the cooperation. That was five years ago and now RBM-007 is entering the first phase of clinical trials and is being tested in Japanese patients. The results are very promising, however, testing a new drug is a long way off. “Drug for achondroplasia – Vosoritide, which I participated in the research, will reach the first patients after more than sixteen years,” Krejčí added.

The main focus of the FNUSA-ICRC Cell Signaling team, ie research into receptor tyrosine kinases, which currently includes FGFR3, is far from over. “Currently, we have about fifteen projects under development,” Krejčí confirmed. One is the study of aptamers that would not function as a ligand trap but inhibit receptors directly. The result could be a new generation of molecules with great potential for the treatment of diseases related to damage to various organs, not just bones. “We are trying to create a bridge between basic and clinical research. So far, we are doing well, hopefully it will last in the future, ” added Pavel Krejčí.

The publication was published in the prestigious journal Science Translational Medicine and can be found here:

Achondroplasia is a genetic form of dwarf growth, the height in adulthood in those affected by this disease is on average 125 cm. It is the most common form of genetic growth disorder in humans, and is caused by mutations in the FGFR3 gene. In the Czech Republic, 4-5 children with this disorder are born annually. Four years ago, scientists from the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) founded register of these children, thanks to which they collect data on their health.