A £73 million Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine has opened at Imperial College London, the culmination of the UK institution’s largest ever investment in research facilities.

Built over four years with support from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust as well as medical charities the British Heart Foundation, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust, Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine (ICTEM) combines laboratory space for up to 450 scientists with a dedicated clinical-trial facility.

The new six-story building on Imperial’s Hammersmith campus incorporates what the college says is one of the largest cardiovascular research facilities in Europe, including the headquarters of the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence at Imperial.

One area of focus in this unit will be developing stem cell treatments to help the heart repair itself after an attack.

The second floor of the building is occupied by teams from the Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre and houses next-generation gene sequencing machines for research in areas such as heart disease and cholesterol management.

The building is also home to the Imperial Cancer Research UK Centre, which brings together chemists, biologists and engineers working on new oncology techniques such as molecular imaging to help doctors match treatments to patients and methods of reducing toxicity in radiotherapy.

On the ground floor of the building is the Wellcome Trust-McMichael Clinical Research Facility, with two wards where new treatments can be tested in patients and healthy volunteers.

AHSC in action

Sir Keith O'Nions, president and rector of Imperial College London, described the ICTEM as “our Academic Health Science Centre in action”.

Imperial formed the UK’s first AHSC in 2007 with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which includes the Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and Western Eye hospitals. The aim was to ensure that new discoveries and technologies were translated into therapies as quickly as possible.