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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

New clinical research hub ‘will transform medical innovation’ says Health Secretary

Published: 24 May 2011

Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley MP, officially opened a new state-of-the-art medical research centre in Southampton today. The unique £9 million pound facility will be a focal point for medical discoveries including the development of new treatments for respiratory diseases and the study of how our lifestyle and diet affects our health.

The Southampton Centre for Biomedical Research, based at Southampton General Hospital, will revolutionise the way research and clinical trials are conducted.  As a joint venture by the University of Southampton and Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, the centre will draw together some of the UK's brightest scientists and doctors, working together in one place to translate the latest innovations made in the laboratories directly into new treatments for patients.

Andrew Lansley MP, Secretary of State for Health, comments: "QUOTE"

The new centre, which is partly funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will house the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, where medical trials are conducted, and two NIHR Biomedical Research Units. One unit leads the world in investigating the causes of respiratory diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis and lung infections. The other, which is unique in the UK, examines how lifestyle and diet affects our later risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

The centre will also accommodate the Cancer Research UK and NIHR-funded Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, and University and Trust research groups investigating cardiovascular, bone and joint diseases.

Facilities will include specially designed clinical trial areas for adults and children, a two-bedded endoscopy suite, paediatric environmental chamber to measure the exhaled air of patients with asthma as well as office space for research nurses and support staff.

Mark Hackett, Chief Executive of Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, comments: "This opening marks yet another milestone in the development of the Trust as a centre of excellence in clinical research and reflects the desire, ambition and enthusiasm of our staff to be at the forefront of cutting-edge innovation for our patients.

"Our successful partnership with the University of Southampton continues to thrive and the SCBR further cements our position as one of the UK's leading teaching hospitals."

Professor Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, says: "It is a great honour to be joined by the Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley to celebrate the opening of the Southampton Centre for Biomedical Research, a unique facility in the UK."

"Through this visit we are able to demonstrate our strong track record in translating bio-medical research into innovative medical treatments that provide direct benefit to patients. This exceptional partnership with Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust will ensure that the local community profits from the cutting edge developments in medical science and technology that are pioneered at the Centre."

Notes for editors


1. Images of the opening and audio interviews available by contacting the University of Southampton Media Relations office on: 023 8059 3212.


2. The Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit is a centre of excellence for research into prevention and therapies for major respiratory diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and lung infections.


As one of three Respiratory BRUs in the UK, it operates in a way that enables best use of its clinical and laboratory expertise across all respiratory research specialties.


By uniting clinicians and researchers working in respiratory medicine, allergy and intensive care with links into the community through local, regional and national research networks, patients benefit in a way that is unique to only a handful of centres worldwide.  Its aim is to benefit patients by improving the way developments in research are translated into new and improved therapies. This will be achieved by: accelerated testing of new treatments in humans;  improving the chance of successful therapies by carefully analysing patients to identify key traits that are predictive of response to treatment; and rapid translation of adult studies into paediatric care through the close relationship between our adult and paediatric programmes


3. The Nutrition, Diet and Lifestyle Biomedical Research Unit was established in 2008 and is the only Nutrition, Diet and Lifestyle BRU in the country and therefore uniquely placed to benefit patients. It is a world leader in research into the concept that nutrition, diet and lifestyle affects the later risk of diseases such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes.


Building on its strengths in understanding cardiovascular, metabolic and musculoskeletal disease, body composition and nutritional status and interventions, it undertakes new translational research in three key areas of the life course. Optimising nutrition:  

- to improve maternal and infant health;

- in child development and ill-health;

- for metabolic and musculoskeletal health in adults and the elderly.


4. Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest acute trusts in England and operates at three sites across the city of Southampton. It provides hospital services for 1.3 million people living in Southampton and southern Hampshire and specialist services including neurosciences, cardiac care and specialist children's services to more than three million people in central southern England and the Channel Islands. Every year more than 8,000 staff at the trust see 450,000 people at outpatient appointments, deal with 95,000 attendances at the Emergency Department and treat 115,000 inpatients and day patients. Providing these services costs £1.3 million per day. More information available at


5. The University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine is based at Southampton General Hospital.


The University is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship across a wide range of subjects in engineering, science, social sciences, health and humanities.  


With over 22,000 students, around 5000 staff, and an annual turnover well in excess of £400 million, the University of Southampton is acknowledged as one of the country's top institutions for engineering, computer science and medicine. We combine academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to research, supporting a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of learning.


The University is also home to a number of world-leading research centres including the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre, the Web Science Research Initiative, the Centre for the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute and is a partner of the National Oceanography Centre at the Southampton waterfront campus.


For further information:


Sophie Docker, Press Officer, University of Southampton, Tel: 023 8059 8933/07545 422 512, email:


Matt Watts, Press Officer, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, Tel: 023 8079 8756, email:

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