An international centre in Brno has received a unique grant. It will research aging and age-related diseases, such as cancer and chronic inflammation

Brno –  June 2018

The International Clinical Research Center at St. Annes University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) obtained a unique grant amounting to almost CZK 700 million. The grant is meant to set up a research team comprised of approximately 15 top researchers and 5 research centres in Moravia. Altogether, they will focus on research into aging and age-related diseases, namely cancer, chronic inflammation and degenerative brain and heart diseases.

Towards the end of last week, a project entitled A Molecular, Cell and Clinical Approach to Healthy Aging (abbreviated ENOCH) was approved for a grant from the EU Structural Funds, specifically from the Operational Programme Research, Development and Education, administered by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. The main research objective of the project is to formulate a joint research programme that is focused on research into aging and age-related diseases, namely cancer, chronic inflammation and degenerative diseases.

The project will involve about 15 researchers from the International Clinical Research Center at St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC), the Institute of Molecular and Translation Medicine at Palackého University in Olomouc (IMTM), the Regional Centre of Applied Molecular Oncology of the Masaryk Oncological Institute (RECAMO), the Department of Neurology at the Faculty of Medicine, Olomouc University Hospital, and the Blood Cancer Research Group at Ostrava University (BCRG). Researchers will be divided into four main research programmes according to their specialization. The first group, Aging and Cancer, will research the relationship between cancer and old age. The second group, Aging and Chronic Inflammation, will focus on the research into chronic inflammation related to cell aging. Degenerative Processes in Aging will research some of the most common degenerative brain and heart diseases. The last Age Modulation group will focus on healthy aging and methods of slowing down the process of aging in their research.

“Research will be carried out by experts in the Czech Republic which will further enhance existing long-term links to collaborating research institutions abroad, such as The Mayo Clinic and The University of Montreal, and will also build and support both new relationships and those that are newly established, such as with the Brain Research Institute in South Korea and The University of Melbourne,” said the chair of FNUSA-ICRC, Gorazd B. Stokin.

The Czech population has been aging and this trend will continue. People 65 and older account for one-fifth of the population. According to the Czech Statistical Office, the population of the Czech Republic was over 10.6 million last year; as many as 2 million were senior citizens. Based on estimates, the percentage of people older than 65 should nearly double by 2060 compared to people in the work force, and reach approximately 56%. Experts believe that with advances in medical care, people in developed countries will live to be as old as 120 in the relatively near future.

 “Today´s world faces unprecedented demographic changes that involve especially the aging of the population which, together with new emerging age-related diseases, pose a significant challenge for health care, economy and society as such,” says the Director of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno, Martin Pavlík“This new project will improve our understanding of aging, will help develop new preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic solutions for age-related disorders that will make society view aging as an advantage, rather than a problem,” adds Pavlík.

The International Clinical Research Center at St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) is a prestigious international project that was started in the Czech Republic in 2011. The international centre, financed largely through national and international grants, focuses on research into heart and brain diseases with the aim of finding new technologies, medical procedures and methods and medication for prevention, including diagnostics and personalized care. Currently, more than 300 researchers and physicians from the Czech Republic, USA, Canada, Argentina and almost 20 EU countries participate in FNUSA-ICRC activities. In addition, FNUSA-ICRC collaborates on international research with scientists and academic institutions from all over the world. The centre collaborates with The University of California, San Diego, The University of South Florida, The Mayo Clinic, The Medical University of Vienna, The Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and two university hospitals in China.

For over twenty years, he has been addressing stroke treatment. Although medicine was not his dream career, he became captivated by technological advancements and the hope they give patients. One of the founders of the FNUSA-ICRC research centre and a renowned expert in stroke treatment, he helped promote thrombolysis in the Czech Republic and is currently leading a comprehensive project to improve stroke care. Also, he is the creator of the international REgistry of Stroke Care Quality (RES-Q). A publication which he co-authored has now been published in one of the most prestigious scientific journals – The New England Journal of Medicine.

Brno-based neurologist Robert Mikulík participated in a major global study on the pharmacological treatment of recurrent stroke involving more than 7 000 patients. Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide. Up to 17 million people worldwide suffer a stroke each year and one third of them die from the condition. In the Czech Republic, approximately 25 thousand people have a stroke each year. Another important fact is that, for stroke, there is a high risk of recurrence.

“Within five years after the first stroke, 20% of patients suffer a recurrence. Yet the risk of recurrent ischaemic stroke can be greatly reduced by various preventive measures, including pharmacological ones. And this was the aim of the study, in which we compared two types of drugs to prevent recurrent stroke,” explains Brno-based neurologist doc. MUDr. Robert Mikulík, Ph.D. Head of Stroke Research Group of the International Clinical Research Centre at St. Anne’s University Hospital (FNUSA-ICRC) and Head of the Complex Cerebrovascular Centre at St. Anne’s University Hospital.

In the study, which included 7 213 patients aged 50 years and older who have recently had an ischaemic stroke caused by cerebral arterial embolism (ischaemic strokes are caused by obstruction of a cerebral artery by a blood clot), experts compared the efficacy and safety of two drugs – rivaroxaban, which had not been used to prevent this type of stroke, and aspirin, which is a well-established drug used to prevent stroke. The research has shown that rivaroxaban reduces the risk of stroke recurrence after embolic stroke to the same extent as aspirin but is not more effective than aspirin as expected.

The results of this study, in which Robert Mikulík participated not only as a co-author but also as a member of the management board that developed the procedure for the study and managed its proper progress, were published at the end of May in one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals – The New England Journal of Medicine and, at the same time, the study was presented at the European Stroke Organisation Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden. Thanks to its high Impact Factor (IF = 72.406), which represents the average number of citations of an average publication in a given scientific or professional journal, the New England Journal of Medicine is currently the second best scientific journal in the world. Also, it is one of the world’s oldest scientific journals – it has been published in the US since 1812 and its current publisher is the Massachusetts Medical Society.

 

Doc. MUDr. Robert MikulíkPh.D.

  • Along with the generation of his colleagues, he pioneered the use of a newly-proven treatment of stroke called thrombolysis in the Czech Republic.
  • He works towards continuous improvement of the quality of care; he leads a comprehensive project to improve stroke care in 23 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (http://eso-stroke.org/eso-east/); under its leadership, the REgistry of Stroke Care Quality – RES-Q (qualityregistry.eu) is being created under the umbrella of the European Stroke Organisation and with the support of the World Stroke Organisation, which is already being used in nearly 500 hospitals in 45 countries.
  • He focuses on managing the treatment of acute stroke in order to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival in hospital and administration of treatment. He has published several papers on this topic and is developing new tools and methods to improve logistics. One method is to train doctors and nurses to adopt new logistics through simulation training. Doc. Mikulík and his team have developed simulation scenarios and, in simulation courses (stroke-simulation.eu), he has trained about 600 doctors and nurses from the Czech and Slovak Republics, Ukraine, Poland, Russia, South Africa, the Middle East, the Philippines and Malaysia since 2016.
  • In the long term, he is devoted to systematically educating the public about the symptoms of and proper response to stroke.
  • In recognition of his long-term engagement in public awareness raising and education, he has been appointed to the World Stroke Organisation’s Board for the World Stroke Campaign.
  • Last year, he received the Spirit of Excellence award for his long-term and successful engagement in the field of organising stroke care and treatment at the national and international levels.

 


The International Clinical Research Centre at St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) is a prestigious international project that was founded in the Czech Republic in 2011. Funded largely by national and international grants, the international centre focuses on research into heart and brain diseases in order to find new technologies, treatment procedures and methods and medicines for prevention, early diagnosis and individualised treatment. Currently, more than 300 researchers and doctors from the Czech Republic, the USA, Canada, Argentina and nearly 20 European Union currently participate in FNUSA-ICRC activities. In addition, FNUSA-ICRC collaborates on international research with scientists and academic institutions all over the world. For example, it collaborates with the University of California San Diego, University of South Florida, Mayo Clinic, the University of Medicine in Vienna, the Swedish Karolinska Institutet, or two Chinese university hospitals.

MUDr. Ota Hlinomaz, CSc. FNUSA-ICRC

Press release, 21 June 2018, Brno

The Cardiology Team of the International Clinical Research Centre at St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC), led by MUDr. Ota Hlinomaz, CSc., made an extraordinary achievement. For the second time, two members of the team co-authored a scientific article in a prestigious foreign magazine, which won the award for the best Czech publication in the field of cardiology at the Annual Congress of the Czech Society of Cardiology.

MUDr. Ota Hlinomaz, CSc., Acute Coronary Syndromes Research Group, received two awards for the best cardiology publications published in the previous year – The Best of Czech Cardiology at this year’s Annual Congress of the Czech Society of Cardiology in Brno. He received the first prize as a co-author for publishing the PRAGUE-18 study that compared new blood-anticoagulant drugs in patients with acute myocardial infarction in whom doctors surgically corrected narrowed sections or completely closed the coronary arteries supplying the heart muscle. In addition, the Brno-based cardiologist was awarded the third prize for publishing research in which experts compared two treatment methods for restenosis (note: the recurrence of a narrowing of a blood vessel) in the stent (note: a metal reinforcement, spiral).

Led by prof. Zuzana Moťovská Ph.D. from Vinohrady University Hospital in Prague, the PRAGUE-18 study involved 1230 patients from 14 Czech health centres. “The study was designed to compare new blood-anticoagulant drugs – Prasugrel and Ticagrelor in patients with acute myocardial infarction treated with primary percutaneous coronary intervention. The study did not find any significant difference between the drugs studied,” summarises MUDr. Ota Hlinomaz, CSc., who participated on publishing the study as the first co-author. The second study, involving a total of 136 patients, focused on comparing the efficacy of two treatment methods for blood-vessel restenosis in the stent.

“The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of Paclitaxel eluting baloon catheters against drug-eluting stents in the treatment of stent restenosis. Paclitaxel-eluting baloon catheters had better results,” adds Brno-based cardiologist Ota Hlinomaz.

Both publications co-authored by MUDr. Ota Hlinomaz were also published in prestigious foreign scientific journals. The winning PRAGUE-18 study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JAAC), and the study that took the third place was published in the Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions journal.

“For every scientist or doctor, it is a prestigious achievement to have a paper published in JAAC, Circulation, or any other renowned foreign scientific journal. Such articles tend to be frequently cited, which also increases the scientific reputation of the given institution at which the scientists or doctors work,” explains Gorazd B. Stokin, FNUSA-ICRC Chair.

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology is the world’s most widely read journal in the field of cardiovascular medicine and it has an international reputation for excellent quality. JACC journals publish peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of cardiovascular disease that comment on the research being presented, including various clinical studies and translational examinations.

The Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions journal is one of six journals of the American Heart Association. In terms of content, it focuses on heart disease, imaging methods, arrhythmia, electrophysiology and genetics.

 


The International Clinical Research Centre at St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) is a prestigious international project that was founded in the Czech Republic in 2011. Funded largely by national and international grants, the international centre focuses on research into heart and brain diseases in order to find new technologies, treatment procedures and methods and medicines for prevention, early diagnosis and individualised treatment. Currently, more than 300 researchers and doctors from the Czech Republic, the USA, Canada, Argentina and nearly 20 European Union currently participate in FNUSA-ICRC activities. In addition, FNUSA-ICRC collaborates on international research with scientists and academic institutions all over the world. For example, it collaborates with the University of California San Diego, University of South Florida, Mayo Clinic, the University of Medicine in Vienna, the Swedish Karolinska Institutet, or two Chinese university hospitals.

International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno participated in the 3rd year of the Veletrh Věda Výzkum Inovace fair in Pavilion P at the Brno Exhibition Center in the middle of May. The aim of the fair was to provide universities, research organizations, innovative companies, scientists and students with a platform for interconnecting scientific and research sphere with business practice while helping to develop communication and project collaboration between the academic and business spheres. This year, FNUSA-ICRC presented the results of its work and news to both industry representatives as well as to investors and partners. A component of the exhibition was a presentation of the preventive program HOBIT of Cerebrovascular Research Team of FNUSA-ICRC, which mainly informed secondary school students about stroke, its symptoms and how to respond to it. Representatives of ICRC also took part in an accompanying program of the fair that included expert conferences in collaboration with universities and research organizations, thematic conferences in cooperation with innovative companies, unions, associations and clusters, forums in cooperation with exhibitors, and B2B events made for getting new contacts.

Czech Expo Science Research Innovation - Foto 1

Silvie Bělašková, PhD., leader of Biostatistics research team FNUSA-ICRC, participated at a conference focused on neurology, 70th Annual AAN Meeting in Los Angeles (USA). There Silvie managed to enter into partnership with the manager of UW Medicine Headache Center in Seattle – Natalia Murinova MD, MHA. Medical center in Seattle has a wide database of patients treated for migraines, headaches and chronic headaches. The latter is just what will be analyzed within the scope of new cooperation at the department of biostatistics. Natalia Murinova also accepted an invitation to the International Clinical Research Center, where she will present the latest results of her work and news from neurological research.

Silvie Bělašková, PhD., leader of Biostatistics research team FNUSA-ICRC

Cardiology research intensively discussed today at Medical University Vienna, the founding member of the Alma Mater Rudolphina, whose history dates back to 1365. The representatives of FNUSA-ICRC research teams involved in cardiology research considered opportunities for collaboration with Clinical Department for Cardiology and Department for Heart Surgery (both Medical University Vienna). The potential for cooperation was identified in Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology, Acute Coronary Syndromes, Biomedical Engineering and Nuclear Cardiology.

The Embassy of the Republic of Italy in the Czech Republic, following the National Science and Research Day, which is celebrated in Italy on 15 April, decided to hold the First Italian Scientific Conference in the Czech Republic to highlight the fact that Italian researchers make a significant contribution to the development of science and research in the Czech Republic.

This unique gathering organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Italy with the opening speech by H.E. Mr. Aldo Amati, the Italian Cultural Centre in Prague and the Center for Translation Medicine (led by dr. Giancarlo Forte) attracted four dozen visitors. FNUSA-ICRC currently has 18 employees from Italy.

FNUSA and FNUSA-ICRC received funding for eleven research projects from the Public Health Agency (AZV).

FNUSA-ICRC hosted distinguished guests from the Faculty of MedicineUniversity of Ljubljana, the oldest university in Slovenia and one of the largest universities in Europe. The program for the Slovenian delegation covered lab tours in the Bioengineering Lab, Acute Coronary Syndromes Lab, Cardiovascular System-Mechanobiology Lab and Mass Spectrometry Lab. Presentation of FNUSA-ICRC research portfolio was followed by a discussion on clinical trials and grant opportunities.

The kick-off meeting of Alliance4Life, the strategic project of ten leading life science institutions from nine Central and Eastern European countries, took place from 15th – 17th January in CEITEC, Brno. Alliance4Life aims at addressing the existing gap in health research and innovation performance between EU15 and EU13. This new initiative has been supported by the European Commission in the frame of Horizon 2020 Health Working Programme as it is expected that outcomes and recommendations of the Alliance4Life could bring useful suggestions for science policy at both European and Member States level. Member institutions of the Alliance for Life intend to work together towards improvement in key areas of science policy and management, and will address these issues at institutional, national, and European levels.

Alliance4Life members are CEITEC Masaryk University, The International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC), Biomedical Research Center SAS; Medical University of Lodz; School of Medicine, University of Zagreb; University of Tartu; Vilnius University; Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis; University of Ljubljana and Semmelweis University.

Alliance4Life logo
The kick-off meeting of Alliance4Life