Within the ARICE project (Twinning for the Armenian Research Infrastructure on Cancer Research, twinning project of Horizon 2020, www.arice.am) project partners held a joint „Hands-on training in advanced pathology methods for biobanking“on 15-17 June in Pilsen, Czech Republic.
Due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this was the first in-person meeting of the project partners Yerevan State Medical University, International Agency for Research on Cancer (represented by Zisis Kozlakidis), Charles University, Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, and Medical University of Graz . The meeting was opened by the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, Prof. Jindřich Fínek, and the Deputy Director for Science and Research at the University Hospital Pilsen, Prof. Ondřej Topolčan.
The 3-day programme opened with a tour of the Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen and a lecture on histopathological classification of tumours of the urogenital tract. In the second part, representative activities of the Department of Immunochemical Diagnostics of the University Hospital Pilsen were presented: studies of biomarkers for diagnostics, follow-up, disease monitoring and treatment optimisation, metabolic syndrome as a risk factor for cancer development, and carcinogenesis and D vitamin.
The second day was divided into two parts. The first part began with a biobanking session and a presentation of the bank of biological material at the Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen – Biobank Pilsen, followed by a presentation of the biobank as a member of the Czech national node, BBMRI.cz. The programme ended with an introduction to biostatistical software programmes used for disease monitoring and treatment optimisation. The second part was dedicated to strategies applied and experience gained during the project proposal preparation and participation at the national level in framework programmes Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In the following discussion, the best practices of the partner institutions were shared. The day’s programme ended with a project management meeting and discussion about the next in-person meetings and activities.
The last day of the meeting included a visit to the Institute of Biology, Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen and two presentations, first, about advanced methods of molecular biology in oncology diagnostics and, second, about the role of circulating tumour cells in tumour development and tumour prognosis. The whole programme ended with a visit to the Biomedical Center of the Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, a new R&D facility focussing on the replacement and regeneration of vital organs.
The 6 participants, two from each partner institution at the meeting, were engaged and interested in learning and sharing their expertise and experience.