Unique centre for research into rare diseases in children named today

‘Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children’ to be the first of its kind in the world 

The world’s first purpose-built centre dedicated to paediatric research into rare diseases has today been named the ‘Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children’. The Zayed Centre for Research is a partnership between Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), University College London (UCL) and the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. It will bring hundreds of clinicians and researchers together under one roof to drive forward new treatments and cures for children with rare diseases

The Zayed Centre for Research will be the first of its kind in the world and has been facilitated by a £60 million gift made in July 2014 by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the wife of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, as well as Chairwoman of the UAE General Women's Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the UAE Family Development Foundation and President of the UAE Supreme Council of Motherhood and Childhood. 

The name was announced at a family celebration at Coram's Fields in Bloomsbury, London opposite the site of the building which is scheduled to open in 2018. The event was attended by dozens of young patients and celebrated this important milestone through arts and craft and cultural activities.

Her Highness was represented at the event by HE Professor Maha Barakat, Director General of the Health Authority Abu Dhabi. HE Abdulrahman Almutaiwee, UAE Ambassador to the UK was also in attendance.

HE Professor Barakat said: “By combining the expertise of GOSH and UCL, the Zayed Centre for Research will become a centre of excellence, tackling some of the most challenging children’s diseases. Through the treatment and cure of thousands of children, the centre will serve as a global research hub, benefitting children and families from around the world.”

“This commitment to children’s health, articulated by the GOSH motto ‘The child, first and always’, echoes the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed, who throughout his lifetime became involved in many collaborations to ensure the health and wellbeing of children everywhere. We are honoured to work in partnership on the formation of this centre.”

Professor Bobby Gaspar, Professor of Paediatrics and Immunology at UCL and consultant in Paediatric Immunology at GOSH is the Director-Designate for the Zayed Centre for Research.

He said: “It is a great honour for this state-of-the-art research and medical building to carry the late Sheikh Zayed’s name. Working together, the hospital and university have an amazing opportunity and important responsibility to find new treatments and cures for children who often have nowhere else to go.

"Recent advances in science and technology offer new hope, particularly in the realms of genetics and stem cell therapies. And by bringing this knowledge, the latest technology and patients together under one roof we hope the work taking place in the Zayed Centre for Research will allow us to make breakthroughs and develop cures for rare diseases quicker than ever before, giving children everywhere the chance of a longer and fuller life.”

GOSH sees children from more than 80 countries worldwide and specialises in the treatment of children with rare diseases. These include children from the UAE who come to GOSH to be treated for a range of conditions including rare heart and neurological conditions.

The Zayed Centre for Research will be adjacent to the hospital and the UCL Institute of Child Health and will contain state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and a large outpatient’s facility. Once completed, it will welcome approximately 400 academics and clinical staff and feature over 150 laboratory bench positions. The outpatient facility will accommodate more than 200 patients and accompanying family members at any one time.

The total cost of the building of the Zayed Centre for Research is expected to be £90 million. The additional cost has been met by £20 million of fundraising income from Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity and a £10 million grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Research Partnership Investment Fund.

Preparation works are currently underway on the Guilford Street site and the facility is expected to open in 2018.