International Center for Clinical Research (FNUSA-ICRC)
St. Anne’s Hospital in Brno
St. Anne's University Hospital Brno is a state-funded organization established by the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic in 1993. FNUSA is a research organization and meets the definition of a research and knowledge dissemination organization in accordance with the Framework for State aid for research, development and innovation commission. FNUSA is one of the traditional hospitals in the Czech Republic and a former workplace of Johann Gregor Mendel. FNUSA has 30 specialized departments and 17 centers of highly specialized care. The departments are used for students of the Faculty of Medicine of the Masaryk University and as well for nursing schools.
The International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne´s University Hospital (FNUSA-ICRC) is an integral part of the St. Anne's University Hospital Brno that was first funded in October 2011. FNUSA-ICRC is a new generation science and research center focusing on finding new methods, technologies and medicaments for effective prevention, early diagnostics and individualized treatment of cardiovascular and neurological diseases. FNUSA-ICRC is considered under conditions of the Czech Republic a unique center, which combines basic and translational research and clinical medicine in a single research infrastructure. Research carried out in FNUSA-ICRC focuses primarily on areas of cardiology and neurology, which are complemented by basic research. These core research areas have been enriched by experts in immunology, cancer and metabolism joining the center.
The FNUSA-ICRC is composed of four key elements, which are an international research and development center, a public health care center, an international education center, a center for cooperation with industry.
Intensive collaboration with international and domestic research partners is one of the FNUSA-ICRC core activities. Our researchers collaborate with scientists, physicians and other experts from more than one hundred research institutions around the world. Our center has formal collaboration agreements with a number of renowned foreign institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and with leading universities and research institutes from the Czech Republic as well. FNUSA-ICRC is currently member of seven European research networks and more than ten Horizon 2020 grants. There is an active exchange of staff with many renowned universities and research centers.
FNUSA-ICRC is a member of several European research networks:
- CZECRIN/ECRIN: Czech national network for academic clinical trials / part of the European ECRIN network
- EATRIS: European infrastructure for translational medicine
- ELIXIR: a distributed infrastructure for life-science information
- ESO-EAST: East European program of the European Stroke Organization
- European Sleep Apnoea Database
- HBM4EU: European human biomonitoring initiative
- RES-Q: registry of stroke care quality of the European Stroke Organisation
Currently we are creating a unique regional scientific platform for top scientists in Moravia with the impact far beyond the borders of Central Europe. This platform connects FNUSA-ICRC with four major research institutions in the Moravian Region (Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine at Palackého University in Olomouc - IMTM, the Regional Center 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). This platform will be created thanks to the Project "Molecular, Cell and Clinical Approach to Healthy Aging" (abbreviated ENOCH), recently approved for a grant from the EU Structural Fund. The main research objective of the project is to formulate a joint research program that is focused on research into aging and age-related diseases, namely cancer, chronic inflammation and degenerative diseases during the implementation project phase from 2018 to 2023.
Cooperation with industry
FNUSA-ICRC seeks to make research outputs available to patients in practice as soon as possible, which is why it collaborates with the application domain in various areas:
- It takes care of the administrative aspects of the implementation of commercial clinical trials for the manufacturers and distributors of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. For phase I trials, FNUSA-ICRC uses a unique Clinical-Pharmacological Unit.
- The FNUSA-ICRC Animal Center offers the possibility of preclinical research into new diagnostic and therapeutic methods, technologies or medicines using animal models.
- In addition to clinical and preclinical trials, FNUSA-ICRC research teams are also able to carry out other research, such as testing the biocompatibility of new substances, selecting endothelial progenitor cells from bone marrow samples and further characterising them, or preparing biological samples from animal tissues to investigate CNS disorders and recording data for analysis
- Within research grants, FNUSA-ICRC collaborates with industrial partners.
- Research conducted at FNUSA-ICRC yields concrete outputs - new diagnostic and therapeutic methods and technologies, or new substances that can be used as pharmaceuticals. FNUSA-ICRC also strives to commercialise these outputs.
In 2017, we joined forces with other hospitals in Brno to form the Moravian Alliance for Clinical Trials. Together, we are able not only to carry out clinical trials on a larger number of patients but also to implement them in virtually any area of medicine.
Since 2013, FNUSA-ICRC has been a preferred partner of IQVIA (formerly Quintiles), a multinational company and the world’s largest Clinic Research Organisation. We collaborate with many other intermediaries and manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
The FNUSA-ICRC Animal Center offers the possibility of preclinical research into new diagnostic and therapeutic methods, technologies or medicines using animal models – from rodents to large animals such as sheep and pigs. We offer unique instruments that are available at only a few institutions in Europe or even none at all – such as instruments for stereotactic magnetic navigation, MRI in large animals, or a system for research into rodent behaviour.
Examples of preclinical projects in which we participated:
- Brain surgery in transgenic minipigs performed using stereotactic magnetic navigation, and examination of these pigs’ brains by magnetic resonance imaging – a link to a press release about Huntington’s disease, UniQure.
- Evaluation of the effects of the ARQ087, potential compound for human thanatophoric dysplasia treatment, on skeletal growth in a mice model.
- Comparison of lesion size using manual catheter and remote magnetic navigation (RMN) catheter.
- Maximum safe electric current setting for ablation using Stereotaxis.
Other forms of contract research
In addition to clinical and preclinical trials, FNUSA-ICRC research teams are able to carry out other contract research projects, using instruments that are in many cases unique in the Czech Republic. These are some examples of what we have done for industrial companies in recent years:
- Analysis of the methodology for clinical data collection and processing, diagnostics and treatment of patients with sleep apnoea, with an emphasis on the use of telemetry capabilities of medical devices.
- Experimental testing and validation of new biomarkers for the diagnosis of cardiac electro-mechanics using the newly developed VDI technology.
- Preparation of blood and tissue samples for the pharmacokinetic analysis of doxorubicin-loaded carriers in BALB/c inbred mice.
- Analysis of biological samples obtained from the in-vivo testing of the bio-compatibility of materials from HA-C16 and HA-C12.
- Biocompatibility testing of modified hyaluronan-based nonwoven textiles.
- Analysis of anti-inflammatory markers from samples obtained from the in-vivo biocompatibility testing of modified hyaluronan-based materials.
- Analysis of records of patients with sleep apnoea – Mewzip with ECG curve, Mat file with O2 curve and annotation table with apnoeic events.
- Selection of endothelial progenitor cells from bone marrow samples and their further characterisation including functional testing and cultivation.
- Preparation of biological samples from animal tissues for CNS disorder research and data recording for analysis.
- Synthesis of specified compounds and optimisation of provided synthetic pathways, development of methodology.
- Full-body scanning using MRI and anthropometric measurement of human subjects.
- Evaluation of measurements of the human myocardium and various myocardial disorders using VDI technology
Key persons: Gorazd Bernard Stokin, M.D., Ph.D.
Platform participation: ATMPs