BUILDING work is now under way on a £35m centre bringing together more than 200 world-leading scientists to tackle serious heart problems.

The Institute of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine is a partnership between Oxford University, the British Heart Foundation and a philanthropist uniting 220 leading researchers from Oxford and across the globe.

Construction work has now started at the building on the Old Road Campus.

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Scientists in the building will study cellular and molecular mechanisms underpinning normal development and what goes wrong in those with birth defects, including congenital heart disease.

Oxford Mail:

They will study how normal tissues form and are maintained during pregnancy.

They hope this will reveal new regenerative strategies to treat both heart conditions that develop in the embryo and those developing during adulthood.

British Heart Foundation CEO Simon Gillespie said: “The Institute of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine promises immense benefit to so many: from the tiniest baby born with a heart defect to the hundreds of thousands in the UK struggling with heart failure.”

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“This world-leading initiative would not be possible without our generous supporters who are investing in future treatments – ultimately saving and improving more lives in the UK and globally.”

Regenerative medicine has the potential to offer treatments for diseases and disorders by providing the body with the means to repair, replace, restore and regenerate damaged or diseased cells, tissues and organs.

Advances will be translated into patient treatment and care through drug discovery and bioengineering to deliver treatments for public benefit.

To help make this happen, the BHF has successfully raised £10m to deliver the IDRM.

The Institute will be co-led by BHF Professor Paul Riley who has already made ground-breaking discoveries that have shown the potential for the heart to repair itself after damage.

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Two thirds of all deaths world-wide are due to non-communicable diseases; many of these are cardiovascular, neurological or immune system disorders.

As such there is an urgent need for the development of new drugs and therapeutic strategies to replace and restore damaged tissues arising from birth defects or acquired adult tissue injury and disease.

The IDRM will integrate programmes in cardiovascular, neurological and immunological science that are dedicated to deciphering the cellular and molecular mechanisms underpinning the developmental biology essential for human health.

BHF Professor Paul Riley said: “This flagship institute will bring together the world’s best researchers – combining cardiovascular, neuroscience and immunology under one roof.

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“My vision is a world where heart damage is temporary and repairable. With the emergence of the IDRM, our research discoveries could trigger a revolution in cardiovascular medicine.”

The Old Road campus has seen huge growth since the mid-1990s.