47 photos as the Heart and Lung Research Institute officially opens on the Cambridge biomedical campus with an ambitious goal

The Heart and Lung Research Institute (HLRI) has officially opened at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus with the ambition to create 10 proof-of-concept drugs or diagnostics in just five years to impact the lives of patients, writes the editor. Chief Paul Brackley.

The Duchess of Gloucester did the honors on Monday at the institute, which will house the largest concentration of scientists and clinicians in cardiovascular and respiratory sciences in Europe.

Official opening of the Heart and Lung Institute by the Duchess of Gloucester . Photo: Keith Hepell. (57894320)

A joint venture between the University of Cambridge and the Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, it stands next to the world-renowned hospital, renowned for many firsts – including, on its original site in 1979, the first successful heart transplant in the UK.

Professor Nick Morrell, University of Cambridge, Director of HLRI, said: ‘This is a hugely exciting day for us, the result of many years of planning and a lot of hard work, and promises to transform the results for patients with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. diseases.

The Heart and Lung Research Institute on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.  Photo: Keith Hepell
The Heart and Lung Research Institute on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Photo: Keith Hepell

“The HLRI brings together two global powerhouses in discovery, innovation and clinical care.

“This constellation of clinical and academic excellence, in close proximity to key pharmaceutical industry partners, is unusual – there is nothing like it in the UK.”

Located close to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, AstraZeneca’s new Global Research and Development Building, and world-renowned institutes like the MRC’s Molecular Biology Laboratory, HLRI aims to conduct high-impact research that will enable breakthroughs in the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of diseases that still represent the greatest health burden in the world.

Official opening of the Heart and Lung Research Institute by the Duchess of Gloucester.  Photo: Keith Hepell
Official opening of the Heart and Lung Research Institute by the Duchess of Gloucester. Photo: Keith Hepell

One in four deaths in the UK is caused by cardiovascular disease and one in five by respiratory disease – and their prevalence is rising, despite our awareness of risk factors like smoking and poor diet.

Martin Bennett, Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences at the British Heart Foundation, said: “When tackling important, global issues, there are many things to consider. There’s what causes the disease, how you diagnose the disease, how you manage it, and how you change things at the population level.

Official opening of the Heart and Lung Research Institute by the Duchess of Gloucester.  Photo: Keith Hepell
Official opening of the Heart and Lung Research Institute by the Duchess of Gloucester. Photo: Keith Hepell

“We have people covering everything from discovery, validation and clinical trials to implementation – the whole pipeline could be done in one building.”

The team has set an ambitious goal of developing at least 10 new drugs or proof-of-concept diagnostic approaches within five years.

Duchess of Gloucester official opens Heart and Lung Research Institute.  Photo: Keith Hepell
Duchess of Gloucester official opens Heart and Lung Research Institute. Photo: Keith Hepell

“It’s good to have a goal,” Professor Morrell explained. “It defines our stall as to why we are here.

“This is translational science. Our goal is not only to publish high-impact articles in internationally recognized journals. The end game here must be to deliver on the promise of this science.

Professor Nick Morrell at the official opening of the Heart and Lung Research Institute.  Photo: Keith Hepell
Professor Nick Morrell at the official opening of the Heart and Lung Research Institute. Photo: Keith Hepell

Professor John Wallwork, Chairman of the Royal Papworth Hospital, said of the new site: ‘It will be a huge step forward and will demonstrate the best of the Cambridge biomedical campus – cross-site collaboration with the world’s best researchers to help save Lives.

Professor John Wallwork at the official opening of the Heart and Lung Research Institute.  Photo: Keith Hepell
Professor John Wallwork at the official opening of the Heart and Lung Research Institute. Photo: Keith Hepell

“HLRI means that new treatments will be created, tested and delivered in one place to fight the leading causes of premature death around the world. It will also allow us to provide additional education and training to clinicians tackling heart and lung disease around the world.

“Bringing together the world’s best researchers, scientists and clinicians will help save lives and enable us to move even faster to bring tomorrow’s treatments to today’s patients.

The institute was funded by the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, which contributed £30 million, the University of Cambridge and the Wolfson Foundation. The British Heart Foundation has donated £10million to the project, with the Royal Papworth Hospital Charity contributing £5million and further support provided by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust for its innovation center inside.

Official opening of the Heart and Lung Research Institute by the Duchess of Gloucester.  Photo: Keith Hepell
Official opening of the Heart and Lung Research Institute by the Duchess of Gloucester. Photo: Keith Hepell

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, said: “The HLRI will provide incredible opportunities for the world’s leading experts to work together more closely than ever to boost heart and circulatory disease research. We are proud to help the institute achieve its ambitious goals and become a new leader in the fight against the world’s biggest killers.

Cardiovascular disease causes nearly 18 million deaths a year, mostly from heart attacks and strokes, with respiratory disease not far behind, according to the World Health Organization, which puts the cost at more £840 billion a year.

Official opening of the Heart and Lung Research Institute by the Duchess of Gloucester.  Photo: Keith Hepell
Official opening of the Heart and Lung Research Institute by the Duchess of Gloucester. Photo: Keith Hepell

What – and who – is inside?

More than 380 researchers and clinicians will be based at HLRI, which will house:

  • British Heart Foundation (BHF) Cambridge Center for Cardiovascular Research Excellence – laboratories studying genomics, population science, cellular mechanisms of disease and translational science will enable scientists to understand and treat some of the major killers, including coronary heart disease, coronary heart disease, pulmonary hypertension and stroke.
  • The Cystic Fibrosis Trust Innovation Hub, led by Professor Andres Floto, will look at inflammatory lung diseases including cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). “Our approach – repurposing off-the-shelf drugs in small-scale studies to get a sense of the impact of modulating these pathways in humans – is really exciting. I think that probably puts us in a very unique position in the world,” says Professor Floto.
  • The Wolfson Lung Injury Unit, led by Professor Charlotte Summers, aims to understand the mechanisms underlying acute lung injury – including damage resulting from pneumonia and Covid-19, among other causes – to develop new therapies . “Every year, 400,000 children under the age of five die of pneumonia, and the predominant mode of death worldwide for these children, and for many thousands of adults, is due to the inability of their lungs to supply oxygen. ‘oxygen,’ she said.
  • A clinical research center will open later this year, led by Dr. Mark Toshner, and will allow up to 10 patients at a time to participate in studies. Dr. Toshner aims to transform the way these studies are done, working with patients to co-design research. Dr Toshner explained: “The idea is to take some of the great basic science that we do at Cambridge and ensure that it is applied in a way that results in changing clinical practice and improving the patient life.

Also inside is a collaboration space for universities, healthcare, charities and industry to work together, as well as educational facilities including seminar rooms and a boardroom.


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