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New NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit Clinical Research Facility opens at Royal Brompton Hospital



Monday, 5 July 2010


New NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit Clinical Research Facility opens at Royal Brompton Hospital


Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust’s new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) Clinical Research Facility opens today.  


Funded and supported by the NIHR and the Royal Brompton Hospital Charitable Trustees, the Respiratory BRU puts the Trust and its academic partner Imperial College London at the forefront of international research into the most challenging lung conditions. It aims to:


  • Develop research teams by creating six new Consortia[1] in key advanced lung diseases to progress future research and improve treatment for patients.

  • Provide the core facilities, including the new Clinical Research Facility, needed by the Consortia to undertake their work.

  • Encourage greater participation from patients and the public on research projects.

  • Facilitate the training of health professionals in Advanced Lung Disease.


Professor Eric Alton, consultant physician at Royal Brompton Hospital, Professor of Gene Therapy and Respiratory Medicine at Imperial College London and director of the Respiratory BRU, said: “We are proud to be able to announce the opening of the Respiratory BRU’s Clinical Research Facility based at Royal Brompton Hospital.


“Cutting-edge research has always been a priority for the Trust and Imperial College London. The development of the Respiratory BRU means that we now have the infrastructure and core facilities in place to realise the full potential of this work.


“Our patients will be at the centre of all research carried out in the Respiratory BRU. We want patients and the wider public to see how the research is relevant to them, and for them to have the opportunity to share their ideas and views.


“We hope that the Respiratory Clinical Research Facility will also provide a conducive environment for clinicians and scientists to develop the next generation of ideas for patients with advanced lung disease.”




For further information, please contact:


Shima Islam, Head of media relations

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust

Tel: 020 7351 8672 (Brompton)

Tel: 01895 828 877 (Harefield)

Mobile: 07866 536 345

Email: S.Islam@rbht.nhs.uk


Notes to editors:


Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust is a national and international specialist heart and lung centre based in Chelsea, London and Harefield, Middlesex. The Trust helps patients from all age groups who have heart and lung problems and is the country's largest centre for the treatment of adult congenital heart disease. www.rbht.nhs.uk


In April 2008, the NIHR awarded a four-year grant worth at least £10 million to a partnership of Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College London to fund respiratory and cardiac BRUs at the Trust.  The Units will lead innovative research in respiratory and cardiovascular medicine, translating advances in medical research into benefits for patients and supporting the expansion of current research output in these priority areas of disease.


The Respiratory BRU will take the form of an Advanced Lung Disease Unit which will provide clinical core facilities to speed up translation of current therapies into benefits for patients, create six new Consortia in key advanced lung diseases to produce a significant step-change in future research capacity, and focus translational research towards the common endpoint of these advanced lung diseases, namely chronic lung failure. The six new Consortia are: severe COPD including pulmonary rehabilitation, severe asthma including childhood wheeze and allergy, chronic suppurative lung disease including gene therapy for cystic fibrosis, sleep medicine including sleep studies, acute respiratory failure including ARDS, interstitial lung disease including pulmonary fibrosis.


Consistently rated amongst the world's best universities, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 14,000 students and 6,000 staff of the highest international quality. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.


Since its foundation in 1907, Imperial's contributions to society have included the discovery of penicillin, the development of holography and the foundations of fibre optics. This commitment to the application of research for the benefit of all continues today, with current focuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to improve global health, tackle climate change, develop sustainable sources of energy and address security challenges.


In 2007, Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust formed the UK's first Academic Health Science Centre. This unique partnership aims to improve the quality of life of patients and populations by taking new discoveries and translating them into new therapies as quickly as possible. www.imperial.ac.uk 


The National Institute for Health Research provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility.  The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training.  Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients. www.nihr.ac.uk


[1] Each Consortia is disease focussed and covers severe COPD, severe asthma, chronic suppurative lung disease, sleep medicine, acute respiratory failure and interstitial lung diseases.

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