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

14. 1. 2021 |

On Thursday, January 14, 2021, with the participation of the Rector of Masaryk University, prof. MUDr. Martin Bareš, Ph.D., director of the St. Anne's University Hospital Brno Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák, vice-rector for research and doctoral studies at MU prof. RNDr. Šárka Pospíšilová, Ph.D. and the executive director of the International Clinicla Research of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) Pavel Iványi, MBA, LL.M. signed Memorandum of Understanding between Masaryk University and the St. Anne's University Hospital Brno in the field of science and research.

"Both institutions are very closely connected within science and research, which allows us to achieve quality results, which we want to continue together with doctors. The field of medicine and pharmacy is and will definitely be one of the priorities of our university in the current research, "said MU Rector Martin Bareš.

St. Anne's University Hospital Brno has been involved in teaching students of the Medical Faculty of MU since the establishment of Masaryk University. "Cooperation with Masaryk University was and is one of my big priorities. I am very happy that it is taking it a step further and I believe that it will be to the benefit of both parties, "said Vlastimil Vajdák.

After the establishment of FNUSA-ICRC, the cooperation with Masaryk University deepened even more. A significant group of researchers participates in research both at FNUSA-ICRC and at MU faculties, for example, prof. Dr. Mgr. Jiří Damborský, holder of the Czech Head award, expert in biochemistry doc. Mgr. Lumír Krejčí Ph.D. or prof. MUDr. Robert Mikulík Ph.D., who deals with research and treatment of stroke. The output of joint cooperation are also publications in prestigious professional journals. From the results of the research, let us mention, for example, a patent for a substance with potential use as a drug for prostate cancer.

The memorandum emphasizes these requirements and defines the roles of joint scientific teams in order to optimize research activities. The benefits of such cooperation include, for example, joint grant applications, which can maximize grant opportunities and thus support research in Brno.

"Our cooperation lacked clear rules. Good agreements make good friends, and with this agreement we emphasize our efforts for close cooperation, mutual support and joint action in a number of areas, ”added Pavel Iványi.

11. 1. 2021 |

Researchers from the Cellular and Molecular Immunoregulation Research Group (CMI) from the Center for Translational Medicine (CTM) of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC), Marcela Hortová-Kohoutková, Petra Lázničková and Jan Frič explain in their recently published review article how the metabolism of immune cells is closely linked to their function. Shortly after its publication, this article became very popular on the social network Twitter, making it among the top 5% of articles rated in the Altmetrics database. This database is designed to complement more traditional citation metrics.

Immune cells are involved in maintaining the internal integrity of the organism - they recognize and eliminate the external pathogens and perform immune surveillance over the internal environment of the organism. It has recently been shown that most immune cells change their metabolic profile very quickly (in the order of several tens of minutes), these changes are key to their proper function. Sufficient energy and functional metabolites, as well as the overall metabolic status of the individual, such as obesity or malnutrition, are decisive for the resulting immune response. At the same time, the metabolic profile of immune cells is modulated by nutrient availability. Knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of control of immunometabolism and possible intervention linked to this knowledge can accelerate the recovery of a patient with a deregulated immune system response and effectively restore these functions.

FNUSA-ICRC received funding for this research from grants from the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic (AZV) and the European Union (ENOCH and MAGNET). The article was published in the journal "BioEssays" and can be found here:, or you can view it by scanning the QR code.

The figure shows the effect of metabolism on the differences in the representation of individual subtypes of immune cells and mediators of the immune response in obese and malnourished individuals. The presence of these factors will determine how the resulting immune function will be performed.

8. 1. 2021 |

On Friday, January 8, Minister of Health Doc. MUDr. Jan Blatný, Ph.D. visited the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC). After arriving at Biology Park Brno, he was welcomed by the director of FNUSA, Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák and Executive Director of FNUSA-ICRC Pavel Iványi MBA, LL.M.

He and his colleagues first inspected the laboratories of the center in the premises of Biology Park Brno, accompanied by the principal investigators of the FNUSA-ICRC research teams, which are deployed there.

In the area of the St. Anne's University Hospital Brno visited, for example, the laboratories of the Center for Cell and Tissue Engineering FNUSA-ICRC and LF MU, where doc. RNDr. Irena Koutná, Ph.D. and her team are conducting cellular immunity research on COVID-19.

Visit also included a discussion on the future direction of FNUSA-ICRC.

6. 1. 2021 |

Executive Director of The International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) Pavel Iványi, MBA, LL.M. appointed four Deputy Directors for Science with effect from 1st January this year. Their main task will be to ensure the scientific and research strategy of the center, and today the decrees were handed over.

"This is a logical step, I am not a scientist, so I need someone who will recommend the right steps in science and research," said Pavel Iványi. In addition to the common agenda, each of the deputies will have areas to focus on. Investments and research infrastructures will be in charge of Mgr. Vladimír Rotrekl Ph.D., Head of the Stem Cells and Disease Modeling team. Giancarlo Forte Ph.D., head of the Mechanobiology of Disease team, will focus on strategic projects. The translation of research into clinical care will be provided by MUDr. Martin Pešl Ph.D. and the area of cooperation with external entities will be covered by Ing. Pavel Leinveber, Biomedical Engineering Research Team Leader.

"As another activity aimed at strengthening the role of science and research, I would also like to find a scientific director this year who would lead this team and be in charge of all scientific activities of our center. I would like to thank my colleagues who have taken on this agenda in addition to their research activities, "added Pavel Iványi.

In the photo from the left: MUDr. Martin Pesl Ph.D., Ing. Pavel Leinveber and Mgr. Vladimir Rotrekl Ph.D., Giancarlo Forte Ph.D. unfortunately he could not attend.

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