Appeal for Leeds brain research centre

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A MAJOR multi-million-pound appeal is being launched to create a world-class centre of excellence in Leeds for research into brain diseases.

The centre will target improved care and treatment in a range of degenerative conditions including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and dementia.

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals Charitable Foundation, backed by Leeds University and hospital chiefs in Leeds, is leading the appeal to raise £2m by 2015 towards a final total of £6m.

One in six adults suffers from brain diseases but numbers will increase significantly as the population ages. The centre will aim to attract high-calibre clinicians and scientists from around the world in cutting-edge neurosciences, leading to better diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for patients, who will get improved access to the latest trials.

Yorkshire philanthropist Sir Robert Ogden, who is patron of the campaign, and has made a personal donation of £250,000 towards the target, said he was proud to offer his support.

“Bringing scientists and clinicians together to conduct research and clinical trials is critically important to finding a way to deal with this problem that threatens to overwhelm us,” he said.

“The outcome will potentially benefit not only the people of Yorkshire, but the entire world. Degenerative diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s are one of the biggest challenges we all will face this century. I ask the people of Yorkshire to support the appeal generously for the benefit of this and future generations.”

Consultant neurologist Helen Ford, based at Leeds General Infirmary, said: “The centre will conduct research for patient benefit and will help Yorkshire scientists find new treatments and drug therapies, as well as conduct clinical trials. This is an exciting time for brain research with many new discoveries in treatments for neurological conditions.”

Leading clinician Peter Selby, professor of cancer medicine at Leeds University, who has played a key role drawing up a business case for the centre, said it would allow “fantastic science” in laboratories in the city to be better connected to hospital clinics.

“Really good research will lead to really good care,” he added. “There are clear benefits for patients.”

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