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London sees the opening of Europe’s biggest biomedical laboratory

The Francis Crick Institute has just opened next to St Pancras station and the British Library.

The £650m building is set to become home to over 1,500 scientists from 70 countries and will seek to greater understanding of how illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, strokes and diseases of the brain develop.

The institute, named after one of the co-founders of DNA, is a unique partnership of six of the UK’s most successful scientific and academic organisations – the Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK (CRUK), the Wellcome Trust, University College London (UCL), Imperial College London and King’s College London.

The institute’s director, Sir Paul Nurse, told the BBC that The Crick would “attract brilliant, bold and creative scientists from the UK and around the world”.

Sir Paul Nurse was a previous president of the Royal Society and Nobel Prize winner, now heading up a team at The Crick studying cell division, crucial to evolving cancer understanding and treatment.

A key aim of the institute will be to carry out ‘translational research’ which will directly tune laboratory discoveries into tangible treatments for patients.

Dr David Jenkinson, Chief Scientific Officer, The Brain Tumour Charity said: “The opening of the Crick allows researchers from a number of diverse fields to come together under one roof to share ideas that will accelerate the progress of research across the board.

“The institute’s innovative approach, of pursuing discoveries without the traditional boundaries between scientific disciplines will lead to new understanding about disease, including brain tumours, and in time this understanding can be translated into new treatments for patients.”

Despite the Brexit decision resulting in £10 million of EU funding for The Crick being lost, Sir Paul Nurse remains confident the UK government will make up the financial shortfall and that the new centre will reiterate the UK as a “great scientific nation”.

Follow @TheCrick on Twitter for updates on the project.