Research facilities

Information about the cardiovascular and respiratory research facilities available at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.

We have a range of facilities available to Trust researchers and academic and industrial collaborators. These facilities allow researchers to use established techniques and protocols for their clinical research studies.

Biobank

The Trust’s Biobank allows access to retrospectively acquired biological specimens and the infrastructure and support for prospective specimen collection from Trust patients.

Researchers interested in accessing the specimens will be required to submit an application to the biobank manager, which will be reviewed by the appropriate cardiovascular or respiratory committees for approval.

For access to respiratory samples, please contact the respiratory biobank manager, Lyn Ambrose, on 020 7352 8121 ext 4952.

For access to cardiovascular samples, please email the cardiovascular manager, Geraldine Sloane or call 020 7351 8815.

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR)

1.5T and 3T MRI machines are available for research use. The Trust has a Siemens Skyra 3T scanner solely for research, which is co-located in the interventional cardiology laboratory. A team of physicists, radiographers and nurses support our research CMR activities.

Clinical research facility (CRF)

The CRF has the following facilities for respiratory research, supported by experienced nursing staff:

  • seven adult consulting rooms
  • one paediatric consulting room
  • four inhalation adult and one paediatric cubicle(s) for allergen challenge and delivery of GM materials
  • four adult inpatient beds with overnight staffing
  • patient kitchen and amenities
  • children’s playroom and adolescent waiting area. 
  • 24-hour cover from Monday to Friday with potential for weekend cover.

If you would like to use the CRF or have any questions, please contact operations manager on 0207 352 8121 ext 4953.

Computer tomography (CT) imaging

This facility includes all the key diagnostic modalities for lung imaging, including two multi-detector CT scanners (one of which is a dual energy scanner). The scanners are run by senior radiographers with experience in undertaking complex research protocols and supervising image transfer. Imaging investigations available include:

  • digital chest radiography
  • high resolution computed tomography
  • contrast-enhanced computed tomography
  • CT pulmonary angiography
  • dual-energy computed tomography
  • lung cancer staging CT
  • V/Q scanning (nuclear medicine)
  • ultrasonography for pleural disease

Echocardiography

The research echocardiography facility is co-located in our interventional cardiology research centre.

Genetics

The genetics laboratory comprises highly automated, state-of-the-art systems for DNA handling including high throughput NGS library preparation platform (Agilent Technologies), MiSeq (Illumina) and SOLiD 5500xl (LifeTechnologies) sequencers linked to exceptional bioinformatics, supported through a dedicated team of staff based at Royal Brompton Hospital, Imperial College London and the European Bioinformatics Institute.

Histopathology

The laboratory is staffed by HCPC-registered biomedical scientists specialising in lung histopathology. Technical expertise and resources available include:

  • cryo-sectioning of fresh-frozen tissue (cryotomy)
  • cutting of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue
  • H&E staining
  • immunohistochemistry using high-performance automated platform (Ventana Benchmark Ultra), including optimisation of novel antibodies, single and double staining
  • creation of tissue microarrays (TMAs)
  • gross specimen dissection, sampling and photography
  • in situ hybridisation
  • snap freezing
  • tinctural stains
  • light microscopy
  • pathologist consultation and interpretation services
  • project-based access to large numbers of tissue samples from Biobank, covering multiple specialist respiratory disease cohorts

If you would like to book the histopathology lab, please contact the histopathology core facility lab manager on 020 7352 8121 ext 8435.

Image processing laboratory

The Trust provides a digital data processing service for in-house and multi-site international trials which include:

  • remote site sequence optimisation
  • acquisition training
  • volumetric analysis for functional assessment
  • tissue iron load assessment.

The Core-Lab uses the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved DICOM reader/analysis package ‘CMRtools’, developed in collaboration with the Imperial College computing department.

Interventional cardiology laboratory

Our dedicated research centre for interventional cardiology studies has been designed to enable multimodality image integration during endovascular intervention.

The laboratory incorporates intracoronary imaging by optical coherence tomography (OCT) and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS).

It also incorporates physiology assessment, such as:

  • coronary pressure/flow wires
  • conductance catheters,
  • transoesophageal and intra-cardiac echocardiography.

It also includes electrophysiology capability, including electromechanical mapping by NOGA.

It is also fully integrated with a 3T Siemens Skyra magnet for cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR).

Respiratory Physiology

This dedicated research unit is staffed by two dedicated senior respiratory physiologists.

Tests offered include:

  • spirometry
  • post BD spirometry
  • body plethysmography
  • gas transfer
  • blood gases
  • CPET
  • pulmonary blood flow
  • cold air challenge / EVH / vascular hyperreactivity
  • optoelectronic plethysmography
  • lung clearance index.

If you would like to use the respiratory physiology or have any questions, please contact the unit manager on 020 7352 8121 ext 8057.

Respiratory sample processing laboratory 

The respiratory sample processing laboratory is currently able to process a wide range of samples, to prepare slides for performing differential cell counts and can prepare blood smears. Samples are processed to a point at which they can be frozen, stored or shipped to a central laboratory. 

The samples that can be processed include:

  • blood
  • urine 
  • sputum 
  • bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)
  • nasal brushings, bronchial brushings, stool
  • bronchial biopsies. 

The lab also offers a:

  • small tissue culture incubator
  • cell bank.

If you would like to use the sample processing laboratory, please contact the sample processing lab manager on 020 7352 8121 ext 4952

Education centre

The education centre offers modern meeting room facilities situated in the heart of London. The centre is a dedicated space for meetings, events, teaching, presentations and workshops.

To make an enquiry or booking please call: 020 7352 8121 ext 4973/4974