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19. 2. 2021 |

St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA) received almost CZK 48 million from a public tender from the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic to support applied medical research. Of the record number of fifty projects prepared, eleven succeeded. "In a extremely busy competition, success of over twenty percent is a great result. It is proof of the excellent work of all researchers, "said Pavel Iványi, MBA, LL.M., Executive Director of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC).
 
Among the supported projects, where the main researcher is from FNUSA, the FNUSA-ICRC Stroke Research Team achieved an exceptional result. Two of his projects will be financed - A comprehensive integrated framework of health care to improve the outcome of patients after a stroke in the Czech Republic (CARES CZ) with the main researcher prof. MUDr. Robert Mikulík, Ph.D. and Biocompatible nanoparticles as targeted drug delivery systems and theranostics for the treatment of stroke submitted by doc. RNDr. Jaroslav Turánek, CSc. Another selected project will focus on the training of respiratory muscles as a method of pre-habilitation before pulmonary resection, the main researcher is doc. MUDr. Ivan Čundrle, Ph.D. from the Anesthesiology and Resuscitation Clinic of FNUSA. Of the eleven successful projects, one was also junior (the age of the researcher is up to 35 years), namely Memory of innate immunity as a tool for the body's defense against microbial and SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia with a severe course. Main researcher is Marco De Zuani Ph.D. from the FNUSA-ICRC Cellular and Molecular Immunoregulation Research Team.

Approved projects where FNUSA is a partner will focus on, for example, research into Parkinson's disease, epilepsy or Alzheimer's disease. It is also worth mentioning that the project Use of high-frequency ECG to predict negative remodeling of the left ventricle during chronic pacing stimulated, in which Ing. Pavel Leinveber from the FNUSA-ICRC Biomedical Engineering research team will participate was the best in the Circulatory system diseases section.

"It is a respectable performance if we realize that the projects were prepared by doctors and researchers with a high workload, moreover, in such a difficult situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic," emphasized doc. MUDr. Jan Krejčí, Ph.D., FNUSA Deputy for Science and Research.

Congratulations to all successful solvers and we look forward to the results of the research!

Complete list of successful projects:
Solution projects:
NU21-09-00548 A comprehensive integrated framework of health care to improve the outcome of patients after a stroke in the Czech Republic (CARES CZ) prof. MUDr. Robert Mikulík, Ph.D.
NU21-06-00086 Respiratory muscle training as a way of pre-habilitation before pulmonary resection doc. MUDr. Ivan Čundrle, Ph.D.
NU21-08-00510 Biocompatible nanoparticles as targeted drug delivery and theranostics systems for the treatment of stroke doc. RNDr. Jaroslav Turanek, CSc.
NU21J-05-00056 Memory of innate immunity as a tool for the defense of the organism against microbial and SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia with severe course Marco De Zuani, Ph.D.
Co-research projects:
NU21-04-00445 Clinical response to STN-DBS in Parkinson's disease: influence of vascular, cardiovascular, metabolic and inflammatory comorbidities prof. MUDr. Ivan Rektor, CSc.
NU21-04-00254 Detection of seizure onset zone in multi-lesional epilepsy using multimodal neuroimaging prof. MUDr. Milan Brázdil, Ph.D.
NU21-04-00305 Analysis of transcriptome and DNA methylation in patients with focal cortical dysplasia MUDr. Martin Pail, Ph.D.
NU21-05-00438 The role of alternative forms of uPAR in the development of immunopathological reactions - MUDr. Roman Hakl
NU21-08-00373 Pathogen-induced senescence as a triggering factor of Alzheimer's disease - MUDr. Kateřina Sheardová
NU21-06-00408 Predictive potential of dynamic changes in neutrophil and monocyte subpopulations in the development of SIRS and sepsis after surgery or trauma. - Mgr. Jan Frič, Ph.D.
NU21-02-00584 Use of high-frequency ECG to predict negative left ventricular remodeling in chronic pacing - Ing. Pavel Leinveber


12. 2. 2021

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a congenital disease caused by a mutation in the gene encoding the dystrophin protein. It is a deadly, as yet incurable disease that occurs in boys. DMD is manifested mainly by skeletal muscle damage, but also by heart dysfunction. Assessment of the early stages of cardiac involvement by echocardiography is very important in these patients, but often very difficult. Researchers from the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) therefore aimed to test the use of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging.

The results of their study "Quantitative assessment of left ventricular longitudinal function and myocardial deformity in Duchenne muscular dystrophy" were published on the server of the Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases (Impact Factor 3,52).

The study involved 51 patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and 18 follow-up observations. The aim of the study was to use cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) analysis of strains (myocardial deformation within the cardiac cycle) and mitral annular plane systolic excursion (MAPSE) in the detection of early left ventricular development.

These methods have been shown to be effective in monitoring the early stages of heart disease in patients with DMD. "The results of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging showed that the studied patients had reduced left ventricular systolic function as measured by MAPSE," said doc. MUDr. Roman Panovský Ph.D., Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, head of the FNUSA-ICRC Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Research Team, added: "Even if the ejection fraction was completely normal."

11. 2. 2021 

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which falls on 11 February each year, aims to celebrate the achievements of women scientists in 2020. This international day was declared by the UN General Assembly at the end of 2015. It aims to recall the crucial role of women and girls in science and encourage their involvement in research. The fact that women do not play the "second fiddle" in the scientific field is also evidenced by their representation in the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC). Of the total number of employees in research and development, women represent approximately 57 percent.

We would like to introduce at least a few of our colleagues and their work.

MUDr. Lucia Masárová is a doctor at the 1st Internal Cardioangiology Clinic of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno. She successfully deals with science at the FNUSA-ICRC in the Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Research Team, and this issue is also the topic of her PhD. studies at LF MU. Last year, she was able to publish her work on the use of advanced cardiac imaging in patients who carry the Duchenne muscular dystrophy gene in the prestigious Journal of the American College of Cardiology. She also took third place with her in the Competition of Young Cardiologists of the Czech Society of Cardiology. Congratulations!

Mgr. Iuliia Pavlovska is a PhD student at Masaryk University and combines her studies with work in the Kardiovize team. In July last year, she published the first expert article focused on triglycerides in connection with cardiovascular health ("Associations between high triglycerides and arterial stiffness in a population-based sample: Kardiovize Brno 2030 study") and is currently awaiting the publication of another focused on relationships among new models of diagnosis and stratification of overweight and changes in glucose metabolism. Together with colleagues, she is intensively involved in adapting diabetes prevention programs II. type to the specifics of the Czech population. This year, it is planned to proceed with its implementation, and thus contribute to spreading awareness of the risks of diabetes, prediabetes, and to increase the health literacy of the population. Fingers crossed!

Mgr. Marcela Hortova Kohoutkova, Ph.D. is a member of the Cellular and Molecular Immunoregulation (CMI) research team of the Center for Translational Medicine (CTM). Last year, she participated in the preparation of six professional publications, three of which she is the first author of. It deals with molecular mechanisms that regulate the metabolic profile of immune cells and thus their proper function. The immunometabolic profile is, for example, involved in the processes of pathogen uptake and subsequent elimination. It even plays an important role in some life-threatening conditions - such as septic shock, where the immunometabolic profile associated with impaired immune cell function changes. The possibilities of modulating immunometabolism therefore appear to be a promising tool that could accelerate the recovery of a patient with an impaired immune response and effectively restore these key functions.

4. 2. 2021 

At the last summit of the World Health Organization (WHO), which took place on January 21, experts focused mainly on the dangers of a slightly underestimated disease, namely diabetes. The final report highlights that diabetes became one of the top 10 causes of death in 2019, an increase of 70 percent since 2000. It literally states: "Necessary efforts to prevent and control diabetes are limited, inter alia, by a lack of access to quality, safe, effective and affordable basic health services, medicines, diagnostics and health technologies."

Similar results were obtained by researchers from the Kardiovize research team of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC). When evaluating more than 2,000 inhabitants of Brno and the surrounding area aged 25-64, they found that 64.7% of them have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the following years. This result only clarifies the fact that in the Czech Republic, diabetes mortality has increased by 68% in the last ten years.

One of the main obstacles to halting the rise in diabetes is the fact that patients are often diagnosed at later stages of the disease. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 95% of all cases of diabetes and can be prevented by proper prevention. There is so-called prediabetes, which is a slight increase in glucose values above normal. Patients with this diagnosis have a consistently high risk (up to 70%) of developing type 2 diabetes, which can occur at any time. And it is the period of prediabetes that is the ideal time for an effective campaign to prevent and inform the population about the dangers they may face.

However, this is hampered by the absence of this information among the general population. "There is no diabetes prevention program in Brno yet and it is difficult to set one if 8 out of 10 people ignore the risk associated with prediabetes," said Juan Pablo Gonzalez Rivas MD, head of the FNUSA-ICRC Kardiovize research team. "This is an even greater challenge for us and we are currently working hard to adapt the general prevention program to the Czech population. We will have a pilot version in a number of months and then we will try to implement it to help as many people as possible. "

Diabetes is one of the main areas of interest of the Kardiovize research team. In December last year, they published an original article (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eprac .2020.10.003), which contains a new model for the diagnosis and stratification of glucose changes in patients called the Dysglycemia Based Chronic Disease Model (DBCD). This new model aims to motivate patients and physicians to support preventive strategies, from the phase of insulin resistance to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
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21. 1. 2021 |

RNDr. Jan Fröhlich, Ph.D. and Manlio Vinciguerra, Ph.D., MSc of the Epigenetics, Metabolism and Aging Research Team, published a successful review in the journal Geroscience summarizing current knowledge on the effects of GDF11 on the development and progression of fibrotic lesions (scar tissue) in various organ systems.

In recent years, the GDF11 protein has received considerable attention as a molecule with the ability to "rejuvenate" the body and help regenerate and improve the function of muscles, heart, pancreas, liver and brain. However, a number of new studies have refuted, contradicted, and described the serious negative side effects of GDF11 administration in laboratory rodents. "The benefit of these studies, as well as ours, is that they point to excessive extracellular deposition in most organs caused by GDF11 protein, which leads to the development of fibrotic foci and further progression may lead to reduced or even loss of organ function, " said Jan Fröhlich.

Due to commercial efforts to patent and introduce "rejuvenating" therapies using GDF11 protein, there is a need to investigate in detail and summarize any negative side effects that may occur and damage the health of patients undergoing therapy. "For now, this is the first small step and another must follow," added Jan Fröhlich. "In particular, these should be large-scale in vivo studies that seek to identify any positive but, above all, any potential adverse effects that may occur with the administration of this protein to patients."

You can read it here.
 

19. 1. 2021 |

Alliance4Life’s new project A4L_ACTIONS, submitted under the Horizon 2020 programme, has been selected for funding. Alliance4Life’s next three years will thus be co-financed with a grant of 2 mil. EUR, which will allow a number of already successfully piloted good practices to be put into action.

The Alliance4Life started as a project initiated by CEITEC Masaryk University with the clear mission to help close the innovation gap between west and east Europe. Despite considerable investments from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), there are still large differences in Research and Innovation (R&I) performance between various countries in Europe. The R&I gap in the health sector has a profound effect on the distribution of research funding from the EU Framework Programmes, and therefore hinders the overall impact of R&I results on the quality of health and life of European citizens.

It was the activities of Alliance4Life that served as a starting point for the development strategies of the participating institutions for all seven target groups – science evaluation, ethics and integrity, human resources and mobility, grants and funding, core facilities, knowledge and technology transfer, and science communication. The project enabled the members to gather for joint trainings and to develop best practice inventory, representing an enormous value for the members.

A4L_ACTIONS is the continuation of the successfully implemented Alliance4Life project. Its mission is to support and strengthen European research excellence and the impact of scientific research on society, human health, and quality of life. The 10 founding members formalized the alliance as a permanent structure in October 2019 in Vilnius through the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, and continued with their collaboration even during the difficult year 2020. Two new member institutions from Bulgaria and Romania were invited to join the A4L_ACTIONS project, which will start in May 2021.

Alliance4Life Partners:
Masaryk University (CEITEC MU – Central European Institute of Technology), Czech Republic
International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC), Czech Republic
Biomedical Research Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (BMC SAS), Slovakia
Medical University of Łodz (MUL), Poland
University of Zagreb School of Medicine (UZSM), Croatia
University of Tartu (TU), Estonia
Vilnius University – Faculty of Medicine (VU), Lithuania
Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (LIOS), Latvia
University of Ljubljana (UL), Slovenia
Semmelweis University (SU), Hungary
Medical University Sofia (MUS), Bulgaria
Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy Bucharest (UMFCD), Romania
 

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