Areas of Research

Collaboration that Transcends Boundaries

The greatest achievement of the Regional Cooperation for Health, Science and Technology (RECOOP HST) Association in the ongoing process of European integration is removing territorial borders and fostering research collaboration in seven countries in Central and Eastern Europe (Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine), and the United States.

The RECOOP HST Association was created to fight obesity and related metabolic diseases and disorders. The nonprofit collaborative organization transcends geographic boundaries and the limited resources of individual institutions to develop new diagnostic and treatment modalities.

Primary Areas of Research

Common Mechanisms of Diseases Research Platform

Cedars-Sinai RECOOP Research Centers (CRRC) investigate obesity, which is one of today's major public health problems, ironically coexisting with undernutrition. Obesity is a rising global epidemic—termed "globesity"—with millions suffering from diet-related noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and certain forms of cancer. The CRRC studies adipokines' function to communicate with other organs including brain, liver, muscle, the immune system, reproductive organs and adipose tissue itself. Research activities include the dysregulation of adipokines, the sex-specific role of inflammatory cytokines (TNFα, IL-6) in the development of peripheral and central (brain) insulin resistance, dementia, Alzheimer's disease and uterine contractility.

Reproductive Health Research Platform

Several physiological factors play a role in the altered gestational period. The most important are female sexual hormones, calcium channels, adrenergic system, oxytocin and prostaglandins. Limited information is available about the effects of obesity on pregnant uterine contractility and gestation time. Therefore, RECOOP scientists investigate how the dysregulation of adipokines—leptin, adiponectin and kisspeptin—contribute to uterine contractility, gestational diabetes mellitus and pre-eclampsia. RECOOP scientists also research IgG glycosylation changes in pro- to anti-inflammatory effects in obesity during pregnancy. IgGs can pass through the placenta freely and be secreted in mother's milk because of their molecular size and could affect the development of the newborn. The maternal IgGs are degraded in the first 6 months, and during that period the newborn starts to produce its own IgGs.

Nanobiotechnology Research Platform

The modern pharmaceutical market requires novel drug-delivery systems rather than more novel drugs. The development of targeted drug delivery using conjugated nanoparticles brings more drug molecules to the diseased sites, while at the same time reducing the negative side effects of a systemic drug exposure. RECOOP scientists have implemented a multinational and multidisciplinary research collaboration to design and produce novel anticancer drugs and nanoparticles and invent a new drug-delivery system for the treatment of malignancies.


Sandor G. Vari, MD
Director, International Research and Innovation in Medicine Program
President, RECOOP HST Association

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