The Princess Royal visited the Royal Free Hospital campus of University College London (UCL) today (Wednesday 25 May) to open its new state-of-the-art cardiac MRI centre.

The National Amyloidosis Centre (NAC) at UCL’s Royal Free campus is the only centre in the country specialising in amyloidosis – a group of rare and serious disorders caused by deposits of amyloid protein in tissues and organs throughout the body. Without effective treatment many patients with amyloidosis die from vital organ failure in as little as one to two years.

The new cardiac MRI centre will allow clinicians to comprehensively diagnose and assess patients with cardiac amyloidosis, in which amyloid protein accumulates in the heart muscle. 

Professor Philip Hawkins, head of the NAC, said: “Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) scans uniquely enable us to visualise and quantify amyloid deposits that infiltrate the space between heart muscle cells and cause the heart to become stiff. We will use CMR to accurately measure the amount of amyloid protein within the heart allowing us to develop and evaluate new treatments.”

The Princess Royal, who is Chancellor of the University of London, visited the MRI centre and met with clinicians, researchers and fundraisers, along with patients under the care of the NAC.

David Sloman, chief executive of the Royal Free London, said: “We were delighted to welcome The Princess Royal to the hospital for the opening of the new MRI centre.

“The centre will bring huge benefits to patients and is just another example of how our partnerships with leading academic institutions are enabling us to provide world class care in a local setting.”


Image: Professor Philip Hawkins and The Princess Royal

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About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.

The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver and kidney transplantation, haemophilia, renal care, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, Parkinson's disease, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.

In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London. Read 'A bigger trust, a better future'.