The cutting edge work of the UCL Institute for Immunity and Transplantation (IIT) was showcased at an event for members of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

Guests at the event last Thursday (19 April) heard how the IIT, which will move into the new Pears Building next to the Royal Free Hospital in 2020, is pioneering research into diseases linked to the human immune system, such as diabetes, arthritis and cancer. 

The immune system is essential to human health and is normally kept in a finely controlled balance. But this balance can be lost, leading to a range of conditions that researchers at the IIT are tackling.

Members were given an insight into one recent success story from the IIT, where they have pioneered a stem cell transplantation treatment that is transforming the lives of adults with primary immune deficiency disorders.    

Opening in 2020, the Pears Building will be at the heart of the Royal Free London’s bench to bedside approach, enabling researchers at the IIT to bring new developments to patients. The colocation of the institute and the Royal Free Hospital is an essential ingredient.

Professor Hans Stauss, director of the IIT, said: “I’m thrilled to have had the chance to share with members the opportunities that the Pears Building will give our research teams. The Pears Building will provide more space for the IIT and enable us to further expand our world class research teams, which are using cutting edge technology to better understand what causes disease and how to treat it more effectively.”

The Pears Building, designed by leading architect Sir Michael Hopkins and Partners, will be a modern take on the old Hampstead Hospital which was founded on that site in 1882, being similar to it in scope and size.

The construction of the Pears Building is being funded by a number of organisations, including the Pears Foundation, the Royal Free Charity, and an award from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund.

Sir Trevor Pears CMG, executive chair of the Pears Foundation, said: “My brothers and I are proud to support our local NHS hospital. The Royal Free Hospital has a well-earned reputation as one of the UK’s leading teaching hospitals. We are confident that the UCL Institute for Immunity and Transplantation in its new, purpose built facility will enhance this reputation further, delivering research breakthroughs and treatments for the benefit of thousands of patients in London and across the UK.”

Over 150 members attended last week’s event, part of the medicine for members series. These events are governor led and give members an opportunity to hear more about the Royal Free London’s work.

Judy Dewinter, lead governor at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our medicine for members events are a chance to showcase the world-leading work of the Royal Free London to the people and communities we serve. I hope last week’s event gave our members a better understanding of the work within the institute and how the Pears Building will make a real difference to patients. We are incredibly grateful to the Pears Foundation for their support.” 

(Picture caption L-R: Chris Burghes (chief executive of the Royal Free Charity), Sir Trevor Pears (executive chair of the Pears Foundation), Sir David Sloman (group chief executive of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust) , Kate Slemeck (chief executive of Royal Free Hospital), Lady Pears, Hans Stauss (director of the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation), Judy Dewinter (lead governor of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and trustee of the Royal Free Charity)