Plans for new heart and lung research centre in Cambridge move closer

The new research unit will involve the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge.

The new research unit will involve the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. - Credit: ROYAL PAPWORTH

A new research institute involving the Royal Papworth Hospital will be the largest centre of its kind in Europe, targeting the most common causes of premature death.

The institute, based at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, moved a stage closer after the building was "handed over" by contractors. 

The Heart and Lung Research Institute (HLRI) is a joint initiative between the University of Cambridge and Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and will focus on conditions such as the causes of heart attacks, acute lung injury and repair, cystic fibrosis, vascular dementia, atrial fibrillation and pulmonary hypertension.

It will also be involved in heart and lung research, education, academic-industrial collaboration, and clinical care.

Professor John Wallwork, chairman of Royal Papworth Hospital,  said: “This will be a huge step forward and demonstrates one of the reasons we moved to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus – to collaborate with the best researchers in the world to help to save lives.

“HLRI will mean new treatments will be created, tested and delivered all on one site to tackle the biggest causes of premature death in the world. It will also allow us to provide further education and training to clinicians tackling heart and lung disease worldwide."

He added: “This will be a huge step forward and demonstrates the power of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Through this, we will be able to make even quicker progress in bringing tomorrow’s treatments to today’s patients.”

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Prof Nick Morrell, HLRI director, said: “This is an incredible opportunity to bring together the university’s expertise in cardiovascular and respiratory science and Royal Papworth Hospital’s expertise in treating heart and lung disease.

“Heart and lung diseases affect many millions of people worldwide and the numbers are growing. Institutes such as ours, focused on these big health challenges, are urgently needed."

Features  include a 10-bed clinical research facility, laboratory space and an underground tunnel linking HLRI to Royal Papworth Hospital.

In the UK, one in every four deaths is caused by cardiovascular disease and one in five by respiratory disease. The prevalence of such diseases is increasing, despite growing awareness of risks such as smoking and poor diet.