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New Cardiovascular BRU opens at Royal Brompton

15 November 2010


Guests from all over the world flew to London on Monday for the opening of a new cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) at Royal Brompton Hospital. The BRU is a joint initiative between Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College London, and puts the partnership at the forefront of international research into the most challenging heart conditions, including cardiomyopathy (inherited heart muscle disease), arrhythmia (irregular heart-beat), coronary heart disease and heart failure. It is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).


Cardiac BRU opening Cath Lab
Professor Dudley Pennell presents the new state-of-the-art cath lab to guests


Professor Dudley Pennell, director of the cardiovascular BRU, who is professor of cardiology at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London and consultant at Royal Brompton Hospital, said: “The BRU has five key pieces of equipment, each working to help us tap into a rich vein of genetic and cardiac research into many life-threatening and debilitating conditions.


Much of the BRU’s research focuses on heart regeneration, finding better ways to care for patients and improving the heart health of future generations. Research centres around new heart treatments using genes, imaging techniques, stem cells, tissue engineering and devices.


The BRU’s state-of-the-art medical equipment and facilities include the latest Siemens 3T SKYRA MRI scanner with increased speed and image quality for examining the structure and function of the heart and circulation system, and a biobank, which stores human tissues and fluids together with clinical data for the purposes of advancing cardiovascular translational research. The biobank already has 1,000 profiles banked.


Professor Dame Sally Davies and Professor Dudley Pennell at the opening of the cardiovascular BRU
Professor Dudley Pennell talks with Professor Dame Sally Davies, director general, research and development, Department of Health


Royal Brompton’s ‘Next Generation Gene Sequencer’, which arrived earlier this year, has been incorporated into the BRU, aiding research into the genetics of cardiovascular disease. The sequencer enables clinicians to determine a genetic cause of a patient’s cardiac condition to allow accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment.  Researchers will be able to better understand heart disease by carefully categorising patients into disease types and discovering the genetic factors that cause the disease.


In July, a respiratory BRU opened at Royal Brompton, also funded through a four-year grant from the NIHR.


Read the full press announcement for the opening of the cardiovascular BRU.


Visit our web pages about the NIHR BRUs and its facilities.

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