The Duke of York, Patron of the Royal Free Hospital and Royal Free Charity, today opened the UCL Institute for Immunity and Transplantation at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.
The institute is the first of its type in the UK, one of only five in the world and the first outside the US. It will bring groundbreaking research direct from the lab to the bedsides of Londoners being treated for immune-associated conditions at the Royal Free.
Experts at the institute hope to cure chronic conditions such as diabetes with a one-off treatment rather than through years of therapy, bring life-saving transplants to patients in a matter of months rather than years, and via gene therapy ensure that transplant patients no longer need to take a cocktail of anti-rejection drugs.
During the visit The Duke met with scientists conducting research at the institute and heard about their excitement at starting work at the new facility. HRH met it patients, including those engaged in clinical trials at the institute, and heard first hand how the work being undertaken there was helping them.
Speaking at the opening The Duke said: “Bringing together research and treatment make a great difference, hopefully helping to make immunotherapy less of a black art, and more understood around the world; which will make a real difference to quality of life.”
Today’s opening represents Phase I of a longer-term project. Phase II is due to be completed in summer 2017 and would see the development of a standalone building adjacent to the Royal Free which will house further treatment facilities, laboratories and the 200 leading researchers who will work at the institute. The Royal Free Charity has launched an appeal to raise £47 million to complete the second phase of the project.
You can find out more about the Institute and plans for phase two here.