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Research & development

$60 million healthcare research centre opens in Vancouver

VANCOUVER – A new research facility that will work on medical breakthroughs to save lives and prevent disease officially opened earlier this month. The Robert H.N. Ho Research Centre at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) will be home to health professionals studying treatments and possible cures for patients with prostate and ovarian cancers, as well as bone and joint mobility issues. A key aspect of the new centre is its focus on research in early detection and prevention of disease.

“Much in the world is changing rapidly. I believe that the unknown in many things, including medical science, can best be solved through collaboration and interdisciplinary approaches,” said Robert H.N. Ho. I am proud to play a part in helping to improve the lives of people from across B.C. and around the world.”

The total cost to build, equip and staff the building was $60 million, with a total capital cost of $38.8 million. The total provincial government contribution is $22.5 million. The project was completed on time and on budget.

The centre is named for Mr. Ho, whose $15-million donation was made through the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. The gift includes $8.2 million for the construction of the building – including equipment, personnel and various outfitting. The remaining $6.8 million went toward additional areas of health care.

The facility has three internationally renowned research programs:

• The Centre for Hip Health and Mobility.

• An expanded Vancouver Prostate Centre.

• OvCaRe, the ovarian cancer research program, which is located within the prostate centre.

Approximately 150 staff, clinicians and scientists will work at the building with 40 new jobs created within the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility.

The Vancouver Prostate Centre was previously located within the Jack Bell Research Centre. The new facility provides the expansion that was needed for recent significant growth. A unique aspect of the new building is that it’s joined with the Jack Bell centre, allowing staff to move seamlessly between the two buildings. The ovarian cancer research program had been located at both VGH and BC Cancer Agency. The new space, located within the prostate centre, allows them to unite research activity.

The Centre for Hip Health and Mobility had been located within temporary space at VGH. The new location is customized for unique research studies that range from understanding and preventing falls to biomedical engineering labs where surgeons and engineers can better understand how and why joints develop osteoarthritis and develop new surgical techniques and implants to replace joints more effectively.

The building is a partnership between the Province, federal government, Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia faculty of medicine.

“A few years ago, we had a dream that we could unite scientists and clinicians from a wide range of expertise in one space to understand and alleviate the burden of arthritis, osteoporosis and fall-related fractures,” said Dr. Heather McKay, director, Centre for Hip Health and Mobility. “The opening of the Robert H.N. Ho Research Centre, custom-designed and equipped for the varied types of research we do, turns that dream to reality.”

Dr. Martin Gleave, director, Vancouver Prostate Centre, said: “We are deeply grateful for the support of our funders for understanding of the value health research brings to our province. We are making significant gains in understanding and successfully treating prostate cancer, and our new facility will allow us to explore even more frontiers for early detection and personalized treatment. As well, we are able to attract millions of dollars in external research funding, which creates new jobs and powers B.C.’s vibrant biotech sector.”

Posted September 22, 2011