The new University of Leicester British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Research Centre (CRC) was officially unveiled week.
The multi-million pound facility at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital brings together scientists, doctors and patients with the aim of improving the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, which kill more than 160,000 people in the UK annually.
The CRC was made possible through philanthropic support from the British Heart Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation and the Edith Murphy Foundation. In addition, a £500,000 gift from local donor, David Wilson, and the support of individuals, groups, associations and companies from across local communities for the £1m public phase of the fundraising appeal ensured the completion and equipping of the state-of-the-art centre.
The new building is enabling us to bring together cardiovascular research teams to work collaboratively to push the boundaries of research and to attract new outstanding researchers to Leicester
Director of development, Steve O’Connor, said: “The CRC will deliver a step change in cardiovascular research capacity that will improve the health and life expectancy of patients and the public in Leicester, the UK and ultimately worldwide.”
The CRC also helped to secure the university’s biggest-ever single philanthropic donation of £7m from The John and Lucille van Geest Foundation. This established The van Geest Foundation Heart and Cardiovascular Diseases Research Fund and funded a Biomarker Facility adjacent to the CRC, which will also be officially opened this week.
The new facility is the first four-storey building at Glenfield Hospital and adjoins the existing clinical sciences wing which houses the university’s medical research and teaching facilities. The 2,200sq m, eye-catching building will further strengthen and consolidate Leicester’s position as a leading international centre for heart research, thanks to the successful collaboration between the University of Leicester and University Hospitals Leicester.
Head of the department of cardiovascular dciences at the university, and British Heart Foundation professor of cardiology, Professor Nilesh Samani, said: “The new building is enabling us to bring together cardiovascular research teams to work collaboratively to push the boundaries of research and to attract new outstanding researchers to Leicester. Advanced IT systems and specialist equipment will enable revolutionary research, which will speed the translation from bench to bedside to benefit the thousands of families and patients whose lives have been affected by cardiovascular disease.”
The work of the CRC will also benefit from the university’s investment in a new £42m Centre for Medicine. Set to open in autumn 2015, the cutting-edge facility will act as central hub for medical teaching and applied research, linking research centres such as the CRC, local hospitals and Leicester Medical School. By providing a teaching environment which is truly research-led and also firmly focused on patient needs, it will meet the increasing challenge of training tomorrow's doctors and help to translate research breakthroughs especially in chronic disease, from laboratory to hospital.