Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for health, visited the Royal Free Hospital today, taking a tour of the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation (IIT) and seeing the Royal Free Charity.

Mr Hunt, who was accompanied by Simon Marcus, the Conservative candidate for  Hampstead and Kilburn, was taken round the labs in the IIT by Professor Hans Stauss, the director of the institute, and researcher Dr Siobhan Burns.

He was also shown the clinic areas, on the second floor of the Royal Free Hospital, where he spoke to patient Jessie Pione, pictured right, who is receiving treatment at the IIT.

Mr Hunt was invited to the see the institute by Chris Burghes, the chief executive of the Royal Free Charity. The charity is raising funds to pay for the new institute building.

Mr Hunt said he was impressed with the institute and was looking forward to seeing the new building, which will be built next to the Royal Free Hospital.

A planning application for the new building, which will also house the Royal Free Charity offices, is expected to be submitted to Camden Council in the autumn.