International Clinical Research Centre – Europe's Scientific Heart

Development of FNUSA-ICRC Project

The project of the International Clinical Research Centre currently emerging at St. Anna Teaching Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) began its history in 2001.

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A promising young physician Tomáš Kára, after graduation, joined 1st Internal Cardio-Angiology Clinic at FNUSA. He himself was a head of the specialist's team which was granted an international research award of the North American Society for Pacing and Electrophysiology for describing c erebral blood flow disorder. Afterwards, he was offered a specialist assistant position at the Department of Cardiovascular Disorders at the American Mayo Clinic where he has been working until today. Doctor Kára's vision was to engage Czech Republic in an international research and educational programmes and, within a parent workplace St. Anna Teaching Hospital in Brno, to build a research centre worthy a cooperation with a giant the Mayo Clinic is. A decade later, Tomáš Kára's and other specialists efforts with a support of the current Teaching Hospital Director Petr Koška, have become a reality.

ICRC Project Received Overall Support

ICRC project received support by the Decision of the Government of Czech Republic in 2005–2006 and it was registered in the state budget. More than 50 specialists from Czech Republic and all over the world participated in the project preparation and at the end of 2009, an application to secure complementary funding was submitted at the Operational Programme Science and Research for Innovations in the priority axis 1 at the Centre of Excellence.

During 2010–2011, the project went through several challenging, detailed and strict evaluations. It succeeded in being highly evaluated by leading European experts and in the European Independent Scientific Council scored the highest rating of all submitted projects overall in Czech Republic, while it was the only project to gain 100 % of the total points within the 'Research Programmes' section. Based on this evaluation, the project was recommended for funding on a national level. The project feasibility was evaluated by an independent international commission with a participation of European experts and specialists of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in a 'negotiation'. It was necessary to undergo an evaluation of the JASPERS team (European Commission assistance, European Investment Bank experts) which requested a 'second opinion' on very specific areas of the FNUSA-ICRC project. Independent EU experts, within the 'Second Opinion Analysis', confirmed the conclusions of the first independent commission including a high scientific level, quality teams and high readiness of the project. At the end of August 2010, the project was submitted to the European Commission for a final review. The project was approved and recommended for implementation by the decision of the European Commission in mid-June 2011. From the European structural funds, the project was granted funding totalling 2.4 billion CZK. The project is also financed from the state budget and from the resources of FNUSA and South Moravian region.

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St. Ann's Construction in Full Swing

Since June 2010, ICRC centre has been under construction at St. Anna Teaching Hospital. The works should be completed by the mid-2012. The fact that the first international centre for medical research in the Czech Republic is emerging makes the FNUSA-ICRC project a truly unique one. In the world-wide sense, the centre occupies a 'bronze' position within international research centres after the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and International Space Station (ISS). ICRC will be crucial in the development of applied medical and biotechnological research, medical education (training centre within Global Networking in Advanced Medical Education for the European Union) and related disciplines (Biomedical Engineering, Bio- and Nanotechnology, IT and Telecommunications, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmaceutics, etc.)

Its uniqueness also lies within the international multidisciplinary teams which will be able to link basic, preclinical and clinical research with particular cases of patient care. Priority programmes are focused on cardiovascular and neurological disorders. This way, the latest scientific findings will help the patients in much shorter time, their application in the clinical practice is estimated to be faster by 50 %. The whole project is very closely linked to the application sector, its part includes a centre of transfer of technologies and intellectual property protection; the emphasis is placed on ethics, transparency and avoiding conflicts of interests Close cooperation has been established e.g. with Sanofi-Aventis, GeneProof, Bio Vendor, Linet, GE and a number of academic and specialist institutions at home and abroad. FNUSA-ICRC is a fully open platform, cooperation with companies is implemented mainly through acquired innovation vouchers.

Top Researches – Future of Medicine

Priority fields of a medical research include e.g. development of mechanical cardiac support (artificial heart) or new technologies for treatment of stroke or certain types of tumours. Emerging laboratory for brain and cardiac interventions will be the second clinical research centre in the world and the first one within EU equipped with Niobe technology. This technology will facilitate magnetically navigated endovascular procedures in treating serious neurological disorders, e.g. epilepsy, Parkinson's disease or brain tumours (Niobe technology is currently used in cardiology).

FNUSA-ICRC cooperates with Stem Cell Institute at University of Minnesota, one of the leading centres in stem cell research. In addition, it participates in the research on the sleep apnea influence on acute myocardial infarction occurrence and a number of other projects. The International Clinical Research Centre project will employ young Czech researchers, provide opportunities for Top Czech specialists returning from abroad and significantly support employment in the region. American Mayo Clinic as ICRC-FNUSA key partner for the first time in history obtained significant funds amounting to $ 10 million for international research from the European Union. This shows that medical research has no boundaries. Mayo Clinic boasts a Nobel Prize-winning discovery of cortisol and the St. Anna Teaching Hospital in Brno is a proud former workplace of Gregor Johann Mendel, the 'father of genetics'. We believe that the International Clinical Research Centre is the future of medicine and it is to bring significant discoveries in benefit of humanity.

Šárka Urbánková
Head of PR Department and FNUSA communication


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