New £60m home for UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation

Immunity experts at the Royal Free Hospital have moved into a new £60 million facility, the Pears building next to the Royal Free Hospital in central London.

It will house the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation, one of the largest patient-focused immunology centres in Europe. The building is part of a collaboration between the Royal Free Charity, UCL and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. 

Professor Hans Stauss, director of the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation, said: “In the Pears Building we have a world class laboratory research facility and a beautiful space designed to facilitate a unique partnership between scientist and clinician. This will enable us to convert discoveries made in the laboratory into cures and treatments more quickly. 

 “Our COVID-19 work during the pandemic has reinforced the importance of understanding and modulating the immune system. In the Pears Building we will be able to expand the institute and so create a fabulous opportunity to release the potential of immunity-based treatments in cancer, diabetes, HIV, hepatitis and COVID-19, as well as developing new therapies to stop the rejection of transplants.” 

The Royal Free Charity formed a key part of the planning process and the Pears building will have dedicated office space for charity staff. The building will be home to up to 200 researchers working on wide range subjects, such as cures and treatments for type 1 diabetes, cancer, and organ rejection after transplantation. 

The building was designed by the architect firm Hopkins, and the construction company Willmott Dixon. The infrastructure of the building was designed with collaboration at the forefront, and meeting ‘pods’ being installed, to encourage collaboration between researchers, clinicians, and the wider community.  

Caroline Clarke, Royal Free London group chief executive, added: “Our expansion of the institute will give many more of our patients the opportunity to take part in ground-breaking research. As well as providing more space for scientists to develop better treatments for cancer, diabetes, HIV and tuberculosis, and to support transplantation, the new centre will play its part in crucial research into COVID-19, helping the international effort to tackle this devastating virus. This important work will contribute not only to the health and wellbeing of our local community but be a world-leading centre for understanding the human immune system.”