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Research centres

The Cambridge Children’s Research Institute will embed research into Cambridge Children's Hospital, transforming early diagnosis, precision treatment and prevention of disease.

Scientist looking through a lens

The Research Institute will house six collaborative research centres focusing on the most serious impediments to health and wellbeing that children and young people face in the UK and globally.

Childhood Cancer Centre

Improving the effectiveness and lessening the lifelong impact of cancer treatment.

Cancer and blood disorders such as leukaemia, brain tumours and sickle cell disease continue to be leading causes of death and disability in children and young people. In the Childhood Cancer Centre, researchers will focus on better understanding the early origins of childhood cancers, utilising new insights into where paediatric cancers of the body and brain begin to improve detection and treatment. At the forefront of translating genomic data into effective cancer treatment, our ambition is to provide novel cell-based therapies for leukaemia and blood diseases and open up new gene therapy options.

Diabetes & Obesity Centre

Anticipating risks and developing new treatments and smart therapies.

Obesity and diabetes are leading causes of disease in children, with both conditions closely linked to socioeconomic status and, in some cases, genetic vulnerability. Using state-of-the-art approaches, the Diabetes and Obesity Centre will test new treatments and work beyond environmental factors to personalise care for every child. Researchers will work to better predict obesity risks and intervene by identifying gene scores and pregnancy exposures, whilst piloting new approaches and developing new ‘smart therapies’.

Genomic Medicine Centre

Developing advanced diagnostic testing, precision medicine and gene therapies

Serious genetic disease is the leading cause of death in children under one year of age and accounts for 30 percent of all paediatric hospital admissions. The Centre for Genomic Medicine will use cutting-edge genomics to find new and better diagnostics and treatments. Researchers will develop clinically applicable methods – particularly whole genome sequencing and gene and cell therapies – to help predict, prevent and treat rare diseases, focusing in particular on serious neurogenetic disorders and cancer.

A little boy with round glasses sitting on a bench outside. He's wearing green and white stripy dungaree shorts, black shoes and a white t shirt
Reuben was diagnosed with an ultra rare condition after Whole Genome Sequencing

Infection & Inflammation Centre

Investigating autoimmune conditions and infections to deliver new and personalised treatments.

The Infection and Inflammation Centre will study the impact serious infections have on children and young people who are acutely unwell. Research in the Centre will explore what role the immune system plays in infection and how inflammation affects brain and mental health. Researchers will investigate the causes and long-term effects of chronic inflammatory conditions, test new treatments and deliver personalised medicine.

A young girl with reddish golden hair stands in her bedroom with a mannequin that she has dressed up as part of a game. She is smiling. She has a tracheostomy tube on her neck. She is wearing a white t shirt with sequins on
At the age of two, a common cold triggered a rare inflammatory response in Phoebe’s body, damaging her spinal cord

Neurodevelopment & Mental Health Centre

Understanding the correlation between physical and mental ill health.

Current estimates suggest that around 20% of the world’s children and adolescents have a mental health condition, making mental health conditions a major and increasing cause of disability worldwide. The Neurodevelopment & Mental Health Centre will focus on psychiatry, psychology, and autism research, and on the early detection of poor mental health in those with long-term or chronic conditions and within vulnerable groups. Key to the Centre’s research vision and approach will be understanding the intrarelationships between conditions of physical and mental ill health.

Perinatal Centre

Predicting and preventing stillbirth, and developing neonatal neuroprotective therapies.

The Perinatal Centre will work closely with clinicians at the Rosie Hospital on preventing stillbirth and neonatal brain injury by investigating basic mechanisms, developing new strategies for neuroprotection and clinical innovation. Work will draw on whole genome sequencing to enable earlier diagnosis and personalised approaches to the antenatal and NICU management of babies with serious genetic diseases.

Our aim is to bring about a paradigm shift, away from reactive approaches, to one based on prevention, early detection and precision intervention that is fully capable of tackling even the rarest of childhood conditions.

Prof David Rowitch, Head of Paediatrics, University of Cambridge

The Institute will concentrate wide-ranging research efforts across children’s health in one state-of-the-art facility, co-located and integral to the delivery of care at Cambridge Children’s across the full spectrum of mental and physical healthcare.

It will bring clinicians, patients and University of Cambridge investigators together with world-class biomedical research organisations and industry partners.

The Children’s Hospital, and the Research Institute within it, will sit at the heart of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus – Europe’s leading life science hub. Combining world-class biomedical research, outstanding patient care, and clinical education, the Campus provides an exceptional environment that can revolutionise our approach to children’s health.

Find out more about paediatric research in Cambridge (opens in a new tab)