Wednesday, 30 May 2012

World class research centre opened at Hammersmith Hospital

The £73 million Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine (ICTEM) combines laboratory space for up to 450 scientists with a dedicated facility for evaluating and developing new medical treatments through clinical trials with patients. The Imperial College London facility was officially opened yesterday by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP.

ICTEM is a flagship facility for the Academic Health Science Centre, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s partnership with the College, established in 2007, which aims to ensure that new discoveries and technologies are translated into new therapies as quickly as possible. Clinicians and researchers in the new building will work closely with engineers and scientists to generate innovative solutions to health problems.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer opened a £73 million research centre at our local hospital yesterday, underlining its world class status in the research and treatment of diseases.

On the ground floor of the building, the Wellcome Trust-McMichael Clinical Research Facility incorporates two wards containing 13 beds, examination rooms and a gene therapy suite. This joint College and Trust facility is led by the Trust’s director of clinical and investigative sciences and head of experimental medicine at the College, Professor Martin Wilkins.

It allows a large number of patients and healthy volunteers to work with researchers in clinical trials to evaluate new treatments, with fifty studies taking place at any one time. Conditions to be investigated include diabetes, obesity, mental health and pulmonary hypertension.

The building’s first floor is home to the Imperial Cancer Research UK Centre, which brings together more than 100 chemists, biologists and engineers who are working on new ways of tackling cancer, such as molecular imaging techniques which help doctors match treatments to patients and methods to reduce the toxicity of radiotherapy.

These methods could enable patients to have personalised treatment based on the particular profile of their tumour, improving how they respond to treatment. Diseases to be studied include breast, prostate, lung, colorectal and ovarian cancers.

The second floor, occupied by teams from the Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre, houses next-generation gene sequencing machines, which are helping researchers to develop improved methods for preventing, diagnosing and treating common health problems such as heart disease and raised cholesterol.

This machine can sequence four human genomes in just 10 days, with each sequencing costing under £4,000, compared with the £3billion it cost a decade ago. This can help find the causes of a patient’s disease when conventional methods of diagnosis have proved inconclusive.

The three upper floors of the six storey building constitute one of the largest cardiovascular research facilities in Europe, including the headquarters of the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence. One of the areas of focus in this unit is to develop stem cell treatments to help the heart repair itself after a heart attack.

Cutting edge research will give new hope to patients with cardiovascular disease as it remains the leading cause of death in the UK and is estimated to cost the economy around £30billion a year.

The opening of the Centre, built over four years with support from the British Heart Foundation, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust, marks the fruition of the College's largest ever investment in research facilities.

Imperial College Healthcare’s chief executive Mark Davies said: 
“This facility aims to be a powerhouse to drive forward the translational research of the Academic Health Science Centre. 
“The research to be carried out at Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine is essential as it will focus on many of the most serious diseases and conditions which affect large numbers of people in the UK.”
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Chancellor George Osborne said: 
"It's an honour to open this new Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine. It is what this country's vision for the future of life sciences is all about.
"This new Centre rises to the challenge of ensuring we remain a world leader in life sciences. The future is academic research, clinical practice and industrial application coming together. 
"Our future depends on the work going on at Imperial and in world class labs like this across the country. Not just the future of our scientific communities but also the important contribution that they are making to the future of this country's industry, growth and jobs."

1 comment:

  1. This is exactly the kind of investment we DO want to see in The Bush. :-)

    (disclaimer: Imperial student)