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Ece Ergir – mechanobiology FNUSA-ICRC

24. 9. 2019 | 

Ece Ergir - FNUSA-ICRC

The Czech National Final of the Falling Walls Lab competition was also attended by a representative of The International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC). With her Heart-on-a-Chip project, succeded Ece Ergir, a doctoral student from the Cardiovascular System - Mechanobiology team.

“I started from the fact that cardiovascular diseases are still the leading cause of death worldwide. The human heart is very complex and expensive tissue for in vitro modeling, and monolayer culture or animal models may not accurately reflect the physiological complexity of the human heart,” explains Ece Ergir. “My idea is a miniaturized human mini-heart “Heart-on-a-Chip”. We develop small 3D cardiac organoids reprogrammed from donor stem cells (iPSCs) and implement them into organ-on-a-chip technologies that provide a more dynamic and natural microenvironment. Organoids beat themselves, more closely resemble human heart tissue, and organoids from different individuals can respond differently to drugs. The chips can also be coupled together to allow high performance screening. We therefore offer miniaturized, physiologically relevant, cost-effective and ethical tissue models for personalized medicine.”

Ece will have to present the project in three minutes and, above all, attract the jury enough to be selected for the world finals in Berlin. And in that we can help her - come and support your colleague in VIDA! Center 2. 10. - entry is for free, only registration is required

Ece Ergir - FNUSA-ICRC

Falling Walls Lab is an international format designed to introduce the next generation of great scientists and innovators. The competition was created and annually organized by the Berlin Falling Walls Foundation. Talented and innovative thinkers present their science projects, business plans or social initiatives to an interdisciplinary audience and jury during three-minute speeches. The Czech national round of Falling Walls Lab is organized by CEITEC and the winner will take part in the world final, where the Czech Republic won the Audience Award last year.

prof. Mikulik meeting with Moldova president Igor Dodon

17. 9. 2019 |

Professor Robert Mikulík, together with the World Health Organization (WHO) expert and Vice President of the World Stroke Organization (WSO), was invited to the Presidential Palace in Chisinau for a meeting with Igor Dodon, President of the Republic of Moldova.

At a meeting that took place on September 17 with the participation of several other Moldovan stroke specialists, they discussed the main steps needed to improve stroke care in the country. Prof. Mikulik represented the Czech system of acute stroke care, which he has been involved in for a long time, and which is one of the best in the world and a model for many European and Asian countries.

At the meeting, the president confirmed that public health is a priority for the country and added that the Presidency is paying increased attention to stroke. The President informed about the meeting on his Facebook profile.

At the same time, the president appreciated that Chisinau became the site of the organization of the 1st International Summit on Improving Stroke Care in Europe led by prof. Mikulík, attended by 60 experts from 30 European countries. The summit was funded by the IRENE COST Action (CA 18118) project, which was acquired and is now coordinated by the FNUSA-ICRC Stroke Research Team.

Veronika Svobodová, MA, Manager of Stroke research program FNUSA-ICRC

Prof. Mikulík - meeting in Moldova- Photo 3
Prof. Mikulík - meeting in Moldova- Photo 1Prof. Mikulík - meeting in Moldova- Photo 2
Dr. Jaeyoung Shin

19. 9. 2019 | 

Dr. Jaeyoung Shin – FNUSA-ICRC

The Molecular control of cell signaling (MCCS) research team is a benjamin among other sites within the FNUSA-ICRC. What is the focus of his work and what he plans for the future, described us team leader Dr. Jaeyoung Shin.

The FNUSA-ICRC creates a new interdisciplinary platform linking the scientific and research areas with medical science. It offers opportunity for schools, hospitals, researches and scientific teams to present their outputs to each other. Our Molecular Control of Cell Signaling research team (MCCS) will have the opportunity to acquire new inputs and partners for our future projects. The FNUSA-ICRC will be able to see our activities and opened or planned projects.

The treatment of metastatic cancer has undergone a paradigm shift in the last couple of years. The identification of specific receptor of signaling molecules in tumors gives the promise of cellular signaling molecular-based control strategies, which are commonly referred to as ‘targeted therapies’. These new generations of targeted therapies can control tumor growth for several months and may replace unspecific cytotoxic chemotherapies for many cancer types. However, full curings by molecular modification responses are rare, due to the emergence of aggressive, drug-resistant clones that drive relapse and rapidly form new metastases. As a result, cure rates and long-term survival rates of metastatic patients treated with targeted therapies remain disappointingly low.

To better understand the clinical emergence of resistant cells, our work focuses on the poorly understood events during tumorigenesis. By combining the power of experimental model systems, in situ gene expression profiling techniques, and computational analysis, we assume that targeted therapy with kinase inhibitors induces a complex network of secreted signals in breast cancer and lung adenocarcinoma cells.

This response called therapy-induced secretome not only enhances the survival of signaling molecular transfected cells, but also stimulates the proliferation, invasion, and metastasis of molecular-resistant clones that are lurking in the background of the tumours. We also suppose that the tumours in our animal models act as potent ‘RNAi’ to attract molecular-resistant cells from the circulation. This process called knockdown by RNAi, could add an additional layer of complexity to the treatment of relapsed patients by targeted therapy.

The addition of MAPK (Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases) signaling inhibitors blunted the growth and metastasis of resistant cancer cells in animal models. These experiments indicate that this drug development by molecular modification is a potential strategy to delay tumour relapse in patients. Even more importantly, our study started to expose the significant changes in tumours treated with targeted therapies. These changes are still largely unexplored and are expected to have a major influence on immunotherapy efficacy in combination with other curing approaches.

MCCS Research Group Profile
Dr. Otakar Fojt

18. 9. 2019 | 

FNUSA-ICRC hosted a public lecture by Dr. Otakar Fojt, Scientific Attaché of the British Embassy in Prague called BREXIT and science. Participants learned about the UK government's stance on BREXIT's funding for science and research and much more - perhaps the most important information is that the British government has committed to BREXIT's funding of ongoing cooperation to compensate for the failure of EU money. Unfortunately, it is already clear that only some grants will be affected and ERC grants will fall out of this funding format.

And how does our research center work with Great Britain? In terms of the number of publications it is the fifth largest foreign partner, in the last five years we have 86 joint publications, which have a total of 1,376 citations to date. The most common publications we have with the University of London, University College London, Kings College London, Imperial College London and Newcastle University UK.

We cooperate with the University College London on the Teaming grant and Hammersmith Hospital is testing our high-frequency ECG prototype, which we received an American patent together with the Institute of Scientific Instruments of the ASCR. We also have a cooperation agreement with the University of Oxford (specifically the Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology team) or we work with Select Research.

We therefore hope that any possible BREXIT will not slow down such promising cooperation.

Public lecture by Dr. Otakar Fojt, Scientific Attaché of the British Embassy in Prague called BREXIT and science
Professor Heonyong Park at FNUSA-ICRC

17. 9. 2019 | 

Professor Heonyong Park came to visit The International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) at the invitation of the Molecular control of cell signaling team. Prof. Park works in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Institute of Biotechnology and Nanosensors of Dankook University. In addition to a tour of the laboratories at the Biopark, he also gave a public lecture entitled The Pharmaceutical Mechanism of Action on FAK-Assoicated Drug in the Vascular System.

On this occasion we asked him about his impressions of the visit.

You were in the Czech Republic for the first time? How did you like it in Brno?
I visited Brno, Czech Republic for the first time. It was very impressive that people in Brno were very kind, delightful and cheerful. Therefore, I was thinking that Brno was the place where people love to live. In addition, I have known that Gregor Johann Mendel had studied and made his genetics discoveries in Brno.

What are your impressions of the FNUSA-ICRC visit?
I thought that FNUSA-ICRC was the excellent research center where researchers  actively exchange their opinions and I also noticed that FNUSA-ICRC laboratories were well equipped with state-of-the-art technologies. This is important for professors and PIs who also need more researchers to work in order to achieve better results using fully theirresources. Wonderful to me.

Have you discussed any possibilities of cooperation with Brno colleagues in the future?
Yes, it was discussed with Brno colleagues regarding various topics. Especially, I was interested in cell adhesion linked to inflammation and cancer, while I discussed with Brno colleagues. More specifically, I will collaborate with Dr Shin, because our research interests are very similar.

Professor Heonyong Park
heart surface

16. 9. 2019 | 

We have been awarded a joint U.S. patent with Mayo Clinic for systems and methods for epicardial pacing, ablation, and defibrillation. Epicardial “outer” heart surface is often crucial for treatment of arrhythmias but cannot not be reached by standard venous or arterial access. Thus, percutaneous techniques were developed using novel devices, as manipulation vastly differs. Our Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology research team (ICE) and Electrophyiology group at Mayo Clinic developed specific tools – sheaths and catheters, for novel methods of pacing ablation and defibrillation in pericardial space.

The method is reserved for patients with pericardial location of arrhythmic sources and pathways, possibly also patients after cardiosurgery, requiring specific pacing and eventually defibrillation (e.g. pediatric patients and adult parents with depression of systolic function).

ICE team has been conducting device testing and optimization since 2011. Its leader Zdeněk Stárek led experiments taking place in our Electrophysiology lab at Veterinary and Pharmaceutical University. Both stimulation and defibrillation required much less than currently used energy (e.g. allowing new battery strategies). Moreover, lower utilized energies of ICD defibrillation (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator), will presumably result in absence much lesser pain in case patient is conscious during shock delivery.

Epicardial “outer” heart surface
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