The industrial-technological holding Czechoslovak Group (CSG) owned by Michal Strnad has decided to support the Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion (IHBT) in the long-term research of immunotherapeutic products for the treatment of patients with acute leukaemia. For this purpose, CSG will make a significant financial donation to IHBT with the potential to accelerate this important project. The cooperation with CSG is the first time that IHBT has obtained a major sponsor from the private sector to support a specific project.
IHBT is the most prestigious haematology centre in the Czech Republic, primarily focusing on congenital, cancerous and also very rare diseases. The IHBT team has 500 employees, including about 80 scientists. The institute has four main pillars of activity: cutting-edge diagnostics, specialised treatment, customised production of transfusion products and science and research.
It is within the fourth pillar, science and research, that the CSG donation should play a significant role. A trend in the fight against leukaemia in the past decade is the development of cell therapy using, for example, natural killers (NK). These are cells produced from the donor's blood and 'trained' to destroy cancer cells within the patient's body. The donation from CSG will support a project in which IHBT experts will develop an optimal method for the production of cells for immunotherapy and their proper administration to leukaemia patients. Cell therapy may be particularly useful for tumours that are currently untreatable with chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation.
“Leukaemia is a particularly insidious form of cancer that affects over one-thousand people in the Czech Republic each year, including dozens of children. We decided to support research at IHBT with the ultimate goal of defeating this dangerous disease”, says CSG owner Michal Strnad, adding: “We offered to cooperate with IHBT because it is one of the most important institutions in the field of leukaemia treatment in the Czech Republic, which deals with the treatment of patients and research and production of therapeutic products in one place.”
Mgr. Jan Frič, Ph.D., Head of the Research Department of Modern Immunotherapy, said: “The donation from CSG is the first significant project-specific assistance our institute has received from the private sector. We do not see this help as a donation, but as a commitment to move the leukaemia treatment project with natural killers forward as much as possible. We will keep CSG and the general public informed about the progress of the project.”
The research project and associated financial support from CSG will be carried out over three years, from 2022 to 2024.