The University of Leicester NHS Trust’s Glenfield Hospital, is to benefit from a new MRI scanner facility. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) have provided a £1m grant to fund the new facility. It will also be owned by the University of Leicester, and Leicester’s Hospitals - which has invested £2.1m in the facility.
It aims to help expand vital research into heart and circulatory diseases. Researchers in Leicester are only able to scan 500 cardiovascular research participants a year at the moment. But, one of the benefits of the new facility, is that it will increase this to 1,500, allowing new research to be carried out into metabolism at rest and exercise. These are capabilities only available in a handful of centres across the UK.
The joined up approach is expected to improve patient clinical care, as well as increasing capacity for cardiovascular research for the University of Leicester, and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) - a partnership between Leicester’s Hospitals, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University.
Rebecca Brown, Acting Chief Executive at Leicester’s Hospitals, explained: “We’re so proud to work with the British Heart Foundation and the University of Leicester to bring this new facility into the hospital.
“These scanners will be part of our hospital in daily use, which will increase the availability of scans and speed up the process for our patients who need them, both by increased numbers of MRI scanners available, and by the improvement in technology that the new facility provides.
“We will also be able to offer more opportunities for people to take part in research locally, which will lead to improved care for our community in the future.”
This builds on the successes of cardiovascular research in Leicester. Over £9M in external grants has also been secured by the imaging team, publishing over 100 papers in the last five years, as well as influencing guideline changes for coronary artery disease. They have been recognised for their work, as the largest recruiter for a study intro multi-organ imaging for Covid-19.
Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor, at the University of Leicester spoke at the launch, and said: “This fantastic new facility is an example of the dynamic and fruitful partnership between the University, Hospital Trust, and the British Heart Foundation.
“Partnership is key to our success as we emerge from this pandemic in the assured knowledge that, together, we are stronger, and this places us in an eminent position to make a transformative change in terms of research and patient-centred health benefits.”
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the BHF, said: “The BHF currently funds over £15 million of life saving research at the University of Leicester, and it’s important that researchers have access to the most advanced tools they need.
“This upgraded scanner will produce more detailed images of the heart faster, which will benefit both researchers and patients. Investments like this are a vital part of making discoveries happen and turning them into medical advances that could transform and save lives.
“Funding provided by the BHF has only been made possible by the generosity of the public, whose donations we rely on to fund our vital research into heart and circulatory diseases.”
Find out more about health research at Leicester’s Hospitals here.