The newspaper of Imperial College London
 Issue 139, 31 March 2004
£76m centre for clinical imaging«
Tribute to miracle miler Sir Roger«
Harriet’s prime howler!«
International student awards«
Making a grand entrance«
Lowering blood pressure«
It’s a bug’s life«
Will powers IC Trust«
We’re on the map«
Britain the ‘tobacco control time-warp’«
Cutting carbon emissions«
When too much competition can prove unhelpful…«
Emotional intelligence scrutinised«
Move to new headquarters«
Staff Pay and Grading update«
An international night to remember«
Water way to make a splash at College…«
Science soirée at Silwood«
Snap happy…«
In Brief«
Media Spotlight«
What’s on«

£76m centre for clinical imaging

by Tony Stephenson

A UNIQUE research collaboration in medical imaging between Imperial College and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) forms part of a £60 million research development on the former Burlington Danes school site adjoining Hammersmith Hospital.

GSK will contribute £28 million towards a new clinical imaging centre, next to Hammersmith Hospital where research will focus on cancer, stroke, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis, and psychiatric diseases. GSK and Imperial have also entered into a 10-year research agreement for medical imaging.

image: artist's impression of the centre

The GSK centre will use and advance the latest technologies in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). Imaging technology such as PET provides scientists with a ‘window’ to look at the real-time chemical processes in human organs such as the brain, the heart and lungs, revealing the immediate changes that medicines can make.

Imaging data can help speed up drug discovery and development by providing information about what is happening at a molecular level in the body. GSK will invest a further £16 million in the latest PET and MRI imaging equipment.

Sir Richard Sykes, rector, remarked: “This is a fantastic opportunity for both Imperial and GlaxoSmithKline, and is one of the largest industrial investments made by a pharmaceutical company in a UK university.

“The collaboration brings together the research heritage, skills and expertise of a diverse group of scientists with a huge investment in new technology.

“With the increased financial pressures on all academic institutions and the recent recommendations of the Lambert review on university-industry interaction this investment is particularly timely, and will further strengthen Imperial’s ability to conduct world class science.”

Imperial’s Hammersmith campus, at the forefront of clinical trials, is already home to many of the world’s leading experts in imaging technology, including staff from the Medical Research Council’s clinical sciences centre, and the Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust. The new development, the land for which has been made available by the Charity Trustees of Hammersmith Hospitals who acquired the site in 1999, will build on the hospital’s strong foundation to create a global centre of medical imaging excellence.

The development site will also include affordable housing for more than 300 health workers, provided by the Charity Trustees for Hammersmith Hospitals’ partner, Thames Valley Housing Association. Jobs will also be created in the new centre.

Of 400 researchers and support staff working there, around half will be new positions.

The agreement is one of the world’s largest industry-university collaborations in financial terms. Lord Sainsbury, Minister for Science and Innovation, commented: “The new clinical imaging centre is great news for the UK. It will carry out vital research into devastating diseases, such as Parkinson’s. The investment by GlaxoSmithKline and Imperial College highlights the strength of the science base in this country, and the quality of medical research at Hammersmith Hospital.”

Dr Tachi Yamada, Chairman of Research and Development at Glaxo-SmithKline, concluded: “New imaging technology can provide early and accurate information about how medicines work in people, yet the need to harness this new technology to drug development efforts, has outpaced current capacity.

“Our investment in this new clinical imaging centre further demonstrates GSK’s continued commitment to medical research in the UK and will go a long way toward providing the tools we need to advance promising medicines more quickly.”

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