Cardiovascular Research Centre
The Leicester British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Research Centre Appeal
Cardiovascular diseases are the commonest causes of illness and premature death worldwide and kill over 198,000 people in the UK each year. They are the main cause of death in this country.
Cardiovascular research has been of major importance within the University of Leicester’s Medical School since its inception in 1974 and the research team comprises of world class investigators with an international reputation in research into the causes and treatment of the most common types of cardiovascular disease. The University has launched an appeal to raise funds for the construction and equipping of a state-of-the-art Cardiovascular Research Centre (CRC).
From 198,000 people dying in the UK of cardiovascular disease, the South Asian population is disproportionately affected, for whom death from premature coronary heart disease is 50% higher than for the population as a whole. According to the British Heart Foundation, spending on research into heart disease equates to just 9% of the UK’s overall spending on medical research, one of the lowest spends on research into any disease and three times smaller than research into cancer. These harsh facts mean that cardiovascular research is, and will continue to remain, the highest priority for the University of Leicester.
However the breadth and depth of our Cardiovascular research, further advances in treatment and care and ultimately the quality of patients’ lives are being adversely affected by the need for more high quality laboratory and academic research space and specialist equipment. This is severely hampering the work of our leading investigators and holding back the development and growth of our research teams. This inevitably restricts advances in treatment and leads to delays in converting research knowledge and discoveries into understanding improved risk reduction, clinical practice and patient care.
This is why the building and equipping of a new CRC is the highest priority for the University, and a central element of the University’s strategy and vision for the future development and enhancement of cardiovascular research.
The Leicester BHF Cardiovascular Research Centre
Our recent award of a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) in cardiovascular disease has enabled us to create a cardiovascular clinical research facility at Glenfield Hospital, the regional centre for secondary and specialist cardiac care.
Constructing the CRC will match this facility with high quality laboratory and academic space. The new building will more than double the current amount of research space over 4 floors (2000m2) and will be adjacent to the existing Cardiovascular Sciences Wing. It is in close proximity to the BRU clinical research facility and hospital cardiac wards. The cross disciplinary research to be undertaken in the new centre will enable investigators and clinicians to tackle vanguard challenges leading to greater prediction, prevention, treatment and care for people globally with a susceptibility to, or suffering from, cardiovascular disease.
What the new Centre will provide
- More laboratory space and of a better quality, particularly given the need to grow the service and bring on more specialists.
- The siting of core laboratory research on one site, thereby improving research effectiveness.
- A significant increase in space for sample storage and analysis.
- More major research equipment, including specialist robotic systems for sample processing and storage to support larger scale research.
- Greater access to specialist equipment, so researchers do not lack state-of-the-art resources and economies of scale can be realised.
- An advanced IT link between the University and the Hospital to support development strategies, systems and processes to manage and mine a massively increased volume of patient data.
- A centralised system for linking the recruitment of patients with cardiovascular disease to research teams on a much greater scale.
- Better use of the rich research potential of clinical information collected on patients during their hospital journey.
What the new building will comprise
The David Wilson Biobank which will be equipped with state-of-the-art robotic equipment capable of processing and storing biological samples from up to 100,000 individuals. This will enable the improved exploitation of clinical information on a major scale.
The Wolfson Laboratories which will provide much expanded laboratory space that will enable the Cardiovascular Research team to exploit its potential fully. This increased space will allow the research team to grow and work together in one dedicated Centre. The new Centre will also include space for training and business collaboration.
The Cardiovascular Research Unit will provide more academic, research and office space for senior investigators and essential support staff.
The Edith Murphy D2K Centre comprising;
- The Clinical Research Informatics Unit which will capture and code information on patients attending cardiovascular services at Glenfield Hospital and enable the scaling up of research through increased patient participation. The Data to Knowledge Unit which will accommodate the advanced IT link between the University and the Hospital and provide researchers with a dedicated research database of clinical information linked to a collection of samples from patient volunteers.
Investment in growing the research capacity at the University will have a significant wider global impact for all people with a susceptibility to, or suffering from cardiovascular disease. The knowledge generated will be shared with researchers and practitioners worldwide and will inform the national guidelines for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. It will deliver a step change in cardiovascular research capacity that will help to improve the health and life expectation of patients and the public in Leicester, the UK and ultimately internationally.
Research undertaken in the CRC will impact the following groups of people across the UK in particular:
- The thousands who die from heart attacks every year
- The 2.5 million people living with heart disease in the UK
- The millions more at risk due to factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol
- The families who would otherwise have to cope with the death of a loved one
- The millions of carers of those currently incapacitated by heart disease
Building facts and figures
- Comprising four storeys and 2,200sqm2 of floorspace
- Designed by Birmingham-based ADP Architects
- Constructed by Morgan Sindall
- Costing a total of £12.6m
- The University of Leicester invested £4m to get the project off the ground in 2010 and the University Hospitals of Leicester Trust (UHLT) provided the site
The CRC Appeal
The University of Leicester has committed over £4million to this major project. The British Heart Foundation has also provided flagship funding of £3m for the Centre. Further significant gifts totalling £1m have been donated by the Wolfson Foundation, the David Wilson Foundation and the Edith Murphy Foundation. A £1m public appeal was also successfully completed in June 2012 to help provide equipment especially for the Biobank in the new Centre. Philanthropic support to close the funding gap of £3m+ continues to be sought from major donors, Trusts and Foundations and community groups and organisations.
The University of Leicester launched the ‘private phase’ of the appeal in April 2010 and a public appeal was launched on 25th August 2011 to raise £1 million to help equip the new £12.6m Cardiovascular Research Centre at the Glenfield Hospital, the regional centre for secondary and specialist cardiac care. The launch took place at the Highcross shopping centre with the unveiling of Diane Maclean's sculpture 'Stranded Heart' purchased for the research centre by an anonymous donor and the symbol of the public appeal.
Public donations to the appeal could be made by phone, text message, or online.
- The public appeal reached the half-way mark within 10 months and was completed in June 2012 with a gift of £500,000 from the David Wilson Foundation
- The appeal has been supported by local community groups, businesses and charities, including: Heartsearch (£23,000,), the Lohana Mahajan (£10,501), the Shree Jalaram Charitable Trust (£5,000), Shree Sanatan Charitable Trust (£1,001), the Gurdwara Shri Guru Harkisham Sahib Ji Charitable Trust (£4,000), the Charnwood Lions (£3,000), the Freemasons of Leicestershire and Rutland (£35,000), the Leicester bakery, Star TV and many individuals, friends and family of heart-attack patients including, Prakash Bhojani, Sailesh Thakrar and Nigel Watkinson
- Fundraising has attracted notable support from well-known organisations including The British Heart Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, and The Edith Murphy Foundation
- Over 450 guests attended the Heartbeat Ball in March 2012, a fundraising dinner in the heart of Leicester’s cultural quarter and raised over £100,000 (gross)
- Dance giants Basement Jaxx played an exclusive DJ set on May 10 at Leicester’s O2 Academy to support the CRC appeal
- Students at the university raised over £500 during the Santa Fun Run at Xmas and collected over £3,000 in public collections at the Highcross and the recent Shakespeare marathon on the University campus raised over £1,000