Over the past week Prague was the focus for discussions between experts and businessmen from Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia, about their experiences with the medicinal cannabis market. It’s a global market that’s growing fast and reckoned to be soon worth hundreds of billions of dollars. But the story in the Czech Republic and in many other places is of growing pains and the early expectations not being realised.
The winner of the main category in the European Union Contest for Young
Scientists this year was Karina Movsesjan, an 18-year-old from the Czech
town of Karlovy Vary. Her research was in the field of cancer inception and
explored how a particular protein mutates.
Movsesjan is a student of biotechnology at Masaryk University in Brno. She was one of around 120 teenagers from around the continent who attended this year’s edition of the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in the Estonian capital Tallinn.
Medicinal cannabis from a Czech supplier could be available in pharmacies in the first half of 2018, the State Institute for Drug Control told the Czech News Agency on Sunday. A gram of cannabis will be sold for about 165 crowns. At the moment, patients can only buy cannabis imported from the Netherlands, which costs around 300 crowns per gram. The drug will be provided by Czech company Elkoplast Slušovice, which has won a public tender for a license to grow and provide medicinal marihuana to pharmacies.
Czech scientist Antonín Holý, who played an important role in creating drugs to treat HIV and AIDS, died five years ago this week -on July 17, 2012. Among his biggest achievements was the drug Tenofovir used to treat HIV sufferers that has helped millions of people the world over. In developing the drug Holý worked closely with the Belgian virologist Erik De Clercq. Prof. De Clercq gave Czech Radio’s correspondent in Brussels Filip Nerad an interview recalling his collaboration and personal friendship with Antonín Holý.
On the first day of spring, a new space dedicated to the use of medicinal plants opened its doors to the public in Prague’s Žižkov district. The Haenke Botanical Lab named after a famous Czech botanist and explorer, was established by French pharmacist Julien Antih. His aim is to spark a broad debate about the use of medicinal plants in science, arts and urban design. Apart from herbs and plants, the space will offer a variety of workshops, public debates as well as concerts and art installations. Ruth Fraňková went to have a look:
At least 10 percent of top-level sportspeople in the Czech Republic suffer from a potentially life-threatening heart condition, suggests a new survey carried out by Prague’s Centre for Clinical and Experimental Medicine. A team of experts from the Department of Preventive Cardiology screened a group of young, mostly male athletes to discover that many of those who appear to be perfectly healthy have a serious underlying health issue.
A team of researchers have after two years of efforts managed to extract DNA from the hair of 19th Czech writer Božena Němcová. The hair has been stored at the Česká Skalice museum dedicated to the author and compared with hair from her son, Hynek, which had also been kept there. The first step now opens the way to research about Němcová’s ancestry. She is credited as one of the founders of modern Czech literature and died in Prague in 1862. DNA samples from her hair can now be compared with the official family tree and other options. According to some versions she was born in Vienna and had noble origins.
The collecting and filing of DNA samples by police should in future be governed by law, according to an amendment to the law approved by the government on Monday. At present the decision whether or not to collect a sample and file it is in the hands of the police, a state of affairs that has been criticized by human rights activists and NGOs as potentially dangerous. A database of DNA samples was established in 2002 and it now contains over 200,000 samples. The draft law will now go to the lower house for debate.
Excessive consumption of beer is a much bigger health risk than previously thought, according to a study undertaken by researchers at Brno’s Masaryk University. According to one of the authors of the study Pavel Grassgruber, excessive consumption of beer significantly contributes to Czech health problems and the fact that Czechs now top the European ladder in pancreas and kidney cancer. Czechs are the world’s leading beer drinkers with an annual consumption of 143 liter per head. Germany, known for its famous annual Oktoberfest, is in second place, with 110 liters per head.