The Czech Centre for Phenogenomics
The Governor of the Central Bohemia Region visited the BIOCEV research centre
The Governor of the Central Bohemian Region Petra Pecková, Regional Council Member for the Environment Jana Skopalíková, and Regional Council Member for Health Pavel Pavlík visited the joint research facility of the Academy of Sciences and Charles University in Vestec near Prague.
"I am extremely proud that an absolutely crucial institution dedicated to science and research has been built in the Central Bohemian Region. When my family's life, like thousands of families in our country, was affected by cancer, never for a moment did I stop believing that the potential of researchers and the capability of science and research are enormous and will find an effective treatment against cancer, as well as many other diseases, within years. This is exactly what BIOCEV researchers have been successful at. I am one of their biggest fans and we will do our best to support them," said Governor Pecková.
BIOCEV opened five years ago. Currently, more than 500 researchers and students from all over the world work here. Their common goal is to have a detailed understanding of organisms at the molecular level. They direct their knowledge into the research and development of new drugs and treatments for serious health problems such as cancer, diabetes, infertility, and viral diseases such as COVID19.
“The pandemic will end one day, but cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, infectious diseases, a huge group of congenital genetic diseases and reproductive disorders will still remain,” says Pavel Martásek, Scientific Director of the BIOCEV Centre, and continues: “In the past, we were only able to describe these problems without being able to find their root causes. Today, we can understand the cause of a disease, right down to the molecular level. Thanks to that, we are able to design a solution which, in the final phase, may lead to the development of effective medications or the discovery of a new therapeutical method, thereby saving many lives.”
As part of the programme, the delegation visited the laboratories of the Institute of Biotechnology of the Czech Academy of Sciences in the BIOCEV centre. Among them is the Laboratory of Molecular Therapy, where a promising substance that directly targets cancer cell mitochondria and which has successfully passed phase I of clinical trials is being developed.
The excursion to BIOCEV also included a tour of the super clean rooms at the Czech Centre for Phenogenomics. One of the largest research infrastructures in Europe, it focuses on genetic engineering to create advanced animal models of human diseases. The portfolio of services also includes a testing platform for conducting preclinical research, including tumour models of cancer patients.
The BIOCEV centre has also played an important role during the current coronavirus situation by testing thousands of samples from hospitals, schools and retirement homes. Recently, it has also been involved in the intensive sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which has been key to detecting mutations.