Czech Republic is involved in the EPTRI project through the participation of the “Institute of Physiology (IPHYS) of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS)”as co-leader of the “Paediatric Medicines Discovery” Thematic Research Platform and collaborating in several other work packages including the “Developmental Pharmacology thematic research platform”.
On 9th of Mach 2020, EPTRI received the official support from the president of the Czech Academy of Science (CAS).
Moreover, EPTRI received the Expression of Support signed by the Dean of the 2nd Faculty of Medicine of Charles University, and by the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy in Hradec Kralove of Charles University. Both of them, in agreement with CAS President, highlighted the relevance of the EPTRI project to fill the gaps in the existing paediatric research infrastructures landscapes, granting their endorsement for the inclusion of EPTRI in the European Strategic Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) Roadmap 2021.
Moreover, the 2nd Faculty of Medicine of Charles University, the Faculty of Pharmacy in Hradec Kralove of Charles University, the Institute of Physiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Palacký University Olomouc and the University Hospital Olomouc, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) stating the intent to develop the EPTRI Infrastructure and organise the main research national Institutes into a National Node (Czech Hub), to guide, support and link the Czech scientific community with EPTRI.
The Czechs respondents of the EPTRI WP3 surveys declared to have mainly expertise in “paediatric medicines discovery” (60%) in the fields of immunology and oncology with particular interest in immune-oncology and solid tumours, and in “developmental pharmacology” (40%) in neurology, psychiatry and psychology.
The Czechs Hub (EPTRI-CZ) is coordinated by the Institute of Physiology and will be constituted by the following Institutions:
- Institute of Physiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences: It is a leading research institution in the field of normal and pathological physiology. At the Laboratory of Developmental Epileptology, the researchers described expertise in the fields of neurology, psychiatry, and psychology. They perform juvenile animal studies for epilepsy, epileptic seizures, aimed to identify new age-specific drug targets. Moreover, the researchers perform pharmacometrics for antiepileptic drugs in different age groups, and for safety of neuroactive drugs (antiepileptic, anaesthetics, etc.) in developing brain. At the Department of Neurophysiology of the Memory, the research units (RUs) work on the development and research of animal models of neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g. schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism). They also perform sensitive biofluids assays as in vivo microdialysis on brain and perform research on memory disorders and on neuropsychiatric disorders.
- Charles University: It has many Departments engaged in several fields of interest. The main medical scientific research areas are cardiovascular diseases, experimental surgery, metabolism, neurosciences and oncology, regulation of cell, tissue and organ development in health and disease, drug discovery and development. The following two institutions are mainly involved in EPTRI: 2nd Faculty of Medicine – Faculty of Pharmacy in Hradec Kralove. At the 2nd Faculty of Medicine, the researchers are focused on leukaemia, bone marrow failure and immunodeficiencies, cancer metabolism, solid tumours, gene therapy and rare diseases, through the activities of CLIP (Childhood Leukaemia Investigation Prague). They also perform diagnosis with molecular-genetic screening and cytometric screening. At the Faculty of Pharmacy in Hradec Kralove, researchers described expertise in the fields of endocrinology, gynaecology, and infectious diseases. They study the mechanisms of infections (e.g. encephalopathy), the hormonal processes and dysregulation (e.g. infancy growth, onset of puberty, etc.) and in the prenatal development. The RUs are engaged in developing new model platforms using placental cord, umbilical cord and in vitro cell based. They use animal models (as rats) to perform studies on placenta as pharmacokinetics of drug across the placenta, drug uptake as the specific uptake of drugs by trophoblast from maternal/foetal circulation, placental biochemistry, immunity, and metabolism. They also investigate the effects of drug long-term treatment of pregnant rats on genes and proteins expression/functions in foetuses and newborns. This allows them to study pharmacotherapy during pregnancy and the effects of antidepressants on tryptophan/serotonin metabolism in the placenta and its importance for foetal development and programming.
- Palacký University Olomouc: At the Faculty of Medicine, the RUs has expertise in the cardiology, vascular diseases, infectious diseases, immunology, oncology, and pulmonary and respiratory diseases. They perform gene and cell therapy, tissue replacement, and in vitro diagnosis. They develop biological drugs including vaccines, small-molecule drugs, new medical devices and equipment, and study new drug delivery systems. Moreover, they use flow cytometry to study the composition of cellular subsets and to identify differences between them. At the Paediatric Department, the RUs are engaged in studying congenital heart diseases (CHDs). They use a new system of ultrasounds to identify CHDs in infants with skin and soft tissue infections. Moreover, the researchers perform study on cystic fibrosis (CF), pneumonias, leukaemia, and autoimmune hepatitis.
- University Hospital Olomouc: At Paediatric Department, the RUs study paediatric development mechanism in haematology, oncology, gastroenterology, pulmonary and respiratory diseases. The researchers use cell cultures of Chinese hamster ovarian (CHO) to study the divalent metal transporter 1 (DMT1) gene mutation in patients with hypochromic microcytic anaemia. They also perform study on hemoglobinopathies (e.g. Diamond-Blackfan anaemia and aplastic anaemia), leukaemia, hepatitis-associated aplastic anaemia (HAAA), primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) or other inflammation as Henoch-Schonhlein purpura (HSP). They use biomarkers as diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive tools, and perform immunoprofiling by flow cytometry. Moreover, they use omics technology to study genomic, transcriptomics and epigenomics effects, and use fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) to study gene fusion in paediatric patients affected by leukaemia. Furthermore, the researchers perform verification of medical devices with the aim of evaluate their effectiveness, safety, and quality.