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£500m cancer centre unveiled

PUBLISHED: 10:54 10 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:36 07 September 2010

PLANS were unveiled this week for the controversial £500million scientific centre in Somers Town which is set to shape the future of cancer research in the country. The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI), which will be l

Susanna Wilkey

PLANS were unveiled this week for the controversial £500million scientific centre in Somers Town which is set to shape the future of cancer research in the country.

The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI), which will be located behind the British Library, will be a world-leading biomedical research institute focusing on cancer research.

It proved controversial among residents who thought the land should be used for housing and feared it would become the target for a terrorist attack because work on deadly diseases including Ebola and Sars could be carried out there.

Now the centre, which has been backed by the government, has revealed its designs for the building and given the first details of its proposed Scientific Vision and Research Strategy.

Professor Sir Paul Nurse, chairman of Scientific Planning at UKCMRI, Nobel Laureate in Phys-iology or Medicine and president of Rockefeller University in New York, said: "We are one step closer to setting up this important resear-ch centre. UKCMRI will be the most exciting project for UK biomedical research in the next 50 years. Its ambition is immense and the promise of what can be achieved will excite and energise the global scientific community.

"London and the UK will be very proud of the work undertaken in this highly interactive building. London has been a global centre for leading medical research for four centuries."

UKCMRI will be constructed on 3.6 acres of land and the planning application will be submitted in spring after a consultation with the community. Work is scheduled to begin on the site in early 2011, for completion in late 2014 or early 2015.

The centre is a partnership of four of the world's most influential and respected scientific research organisations, Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Coun-cil, University College London and the Wellcome Trust.

It will carry out research using the latest technology to advance understanding of human health and disease and aim to discover and develop new understanding of treatments for the illnesses which affect all families, including cancer, heart disease and flu.

UKCMRI has also released the first details of its proposed Scientific Vision and Research Strategy.

The vision sets out four main goals which are research excellen-ce, training and developing future scientific leaders, supporting the nation's biomedical research endeavour and fostering innovation and translation.

John Cooper, interim chief executive of UKCMRI, said: "Four of the world's most influential science organisations have joined forces to lead the world in medical research.

"UKCMRI will pursue vital, ground-breaking research and work with the best scientists to make important discoveries about human disease and health."

For more information visit www.ukcmri.ac.uk.


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