Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 11:20 UK

Sir Chris opens new research unit

Sir Chris Hoy
Sir Chris Hoy is a long time supporter of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation

Four-times Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy has opened a research unit at Edinburgh's Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

The unit will develop improved treatments for children with leukaemia, asthma and cystic fibrosis.

During his visit on Wednesday, Sir Chris met children and families affected by the diseases.

The purpose-built suite of clinical rooms provides greater privacy for children taking part in research.

The centre has been paid for by a donation of £67,000 from the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, a £50,000 investment from Edinburgh University and funding in excess of £20,000 a year from NHS Lothian's Research and Development Fund.

It is a wonderful example of how the wider community can support the work of our doctors, nurses and researchers looking at making things better
Sir Chris Hoy

Sir Chris said: "I am delighted to have been asked to open this important new facility which will benefit children today and well into the future.

"The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh has a strong reputation for providing world class paediatric care and research and this new unit will help deliver the kind of breakthroughs that will make a massive difference to lives of children and families now and in the future."

Sir Chris is a long time supporter of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation.

He added: "I would like to pay tribute to the efforts of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation in helping to make this all possible.

"It is a wonderful example of how the wider community can support the work of our doctors, nurses and researchers looking at making things better."

'State of the art'

Previous research has taken place in the hospital's open wards, but the new two-bedded facility and consulting room will mean children taking part in trials are in private environment.

Professor Robert Minns, of Edinburgh University, who has led the development of the unit, said: "Clinical research is pivotal for advancing the way we treat patients and manage diseases.

"This unit will bring together all research projects involving children, in a dedicated area, with experienced staff and state of the art equipment, in a children's hospital environment."

Grant Macrae, chairman of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation said: "This excellent new facility is a good example of how our fundraising directly helps sick children.

"We hope clinical research goes from strength to strength with the aid of this new facility, adding to our knowledge and understanding about important childhood illnesses and supporting improved treatment."



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