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London 2012 anti-doping facilities provided by GlaxoSmithKline will be converted into a research centre for developing targeted drugs once the Olympic and Paralympic Games are over.

The MRC-NIHR Phenome Centre, which the UK Department of Health says is the first of its kind in the world, will enable scientists to investigate phenome patterns by analysing samples – usually blood or urine – to explore the characteristics of disease in order to develop new treatments for patients.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Department of Health’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) will each provide £5m to build on the capabilities of the anti-doping facilities operated by King’s College London.

The new centre will be led by a collaboration of academic partners, including Imperial College London, and the supplier of nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry equipment, Bruker and Waters Corporation.

MRC chief executive Professor Sir John Savill said, "The GSK drug-testing facility at Harlow has taken one of the major challenges associated with this type of research – achieving high-throughput alongside forensic quality control – to a new level, unprecedented anywhere in the world.

"Rather than losing this investment once the games are over, the collaboration – involving the MRC, NIHR, UK universities, the NHS and NIHR biomedical research centres, and industry leaders in the field – will provide a unique resource that will ultimately result in benefits for patients. This is a phenomenal legacy from the games," added Savill.

UK Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said, "Our investment in this new centre promises better targeted treatments for patients with a wide range of common diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia.

"Patients will benefit from faster and more accurate diagnosis and researchers will be able to develop new drugs and treatments as we understand more about the characteristics of diseases and new sub-types of diseases are discovered."


Image: The new centre will build on cababilities developed at the anti-doping facilities provided by GlaxoSmithKline. Credit: GSK