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Cambridge Heart and Lung Research Institute receives major funding boost

last modified Jul 10, 2019 09:37 PM

Chris Skidmore (Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation) has announced today a £30 million award to the University of Cambridge to support the new Cambridge Heart and Lung Research Institute (HLRI).

The Institute will draw together the highest concentration of heart and lung researchers from academia, healthcare and industry in Europe. It has set an ambitious five-year target to demonstrate proof-of-concept for at least ten new drugs or diagnostic approaches in heart and lung diseases.

The HLRI will be situated next to the Royal Papworth Hospital, which was officially opened by HM the Queen yesterday, and forms part of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, the centrepiece of the largest biotech cluster outside the United States.

It will be home to nearly 400 scientists and will house state-of-the-art laboratories in genomics, population and translational sciences, and to study cellular mechanisms of disease. It will also include a special facility where the first-in-patient studies of new treatments can be conducted.

This is an incredibly exciting project bringing together world-renowned expertise in cardiovascular and respiratory science at Cambridge University and clinical excellence at Royal Papworth Hospital,” says Professor Nick Morrell from the University of Cambridge, Interim Director of the institute and a non-Executive Director of the Royal Papworth Hospital.

Heart and lung diseases affect millions of people worldwide and the numbers are growing. Institutes such as ours, focused on these big health challenges, are urgently needed. The discoveries made by our researchers will deliver major benefits to the public through improvements in public health, new approaches to diagnosing and treating disease, and new medicines.

The award is one of 11 announced from the flagship capital investment scheme (UK Research Partnership Investment Fund). It complements £10 million of funding committed to the institute by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). Further funding will be provided by the University, the Royal Papworth Hospital, and the Wolfson Foundation.

The BHF award is one of the charity’s largest ever strategic award. The charity has also committed an additional £6m in funding for the Cambridge BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Research Excellence, which will be housed in the institute.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Through this funding we will help create a fantastic centre that will have a key role in driving forward our ambitious programme of heart and circulatory research. By bringing together world-leading scientists it will enable exciting opportunities for collaboration between researchers from different disciplines. And it will also accelerate the transformation of discoveries in the laboratory to treatments available at patients’ bedside.”

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has also committed to raise up to £5 million to fund the Cystic Fibrosis Innovation Hub, which launched last year and will transfer to the new building once it has been completed. Both AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline will also embed integrated research hubs in the HLRI to maximise translational impact.

Work on the HLRI will begin almost immediately, with ground-breaking taking place in November and construction starting in early 2020.

Without further medical advances, an estimated one-in-four people in the UK will die from heart or circulatory disease, while one-in-five will die from lung disease. Combined, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases cost over £840 billion worldwide every year.

This is a shorter version of the news published on the University's website - the original story can be read here.


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