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YNHH, Yale and University College London form healthcare, research alliance

Recognizing their shared aspirations for the advancement of biomedical research and healthcare for people around the world,Yale New Haven Hospital, Yale University and UCL (University College London) and its associated hospitals have signed an agreement that makes them allies in a global effort to improve the human condition through translational medicine. The Yale-UCL alliance will provide opportunities for high-level scientific research, clinical and educational collaboration.

Oct. 8 signing ceremony at Yale

  • Professor Malcolm Grant, President and Provost, UCL
  • Richard C. Levin, President, Yale University
  • Marna P. Borgstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer, Yale New Haven Hospital

Both Yale University and UCL are centers of biomedical research and rank in the top echelon of educational institutions in the world. UCL, founded in 1826 in central London, has just been ranked 4th in The Times Higher Education — QS World University Rankings of 2009, in which Yale ranked 3rd. While research exchanges among universities are commonplace, the new alliance is unusual in that both institutions are also in partnership with extensive hospital complexes. In the new alliance, two venerable institutions aim to advance biomedical research and the treatment of disease.

"The discoveries and enhanced patient care produced by our joint efforts will exceed what we would have accomplished separately," said Yale University President Richard C. Levin. "We look forward to a fruitful collaboration."

The hospitals of Yale New Haven include the Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven. UCL Partners links UCL with four leading National Health Service (NHS) Trusts—University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust—to form an academic health science center focused on preventing or treating major diseases that affect populations in London, the UK and worldwide.

"This partnership represents a significant opportunity to advance patient care through novel clinical research and the exchange of best practices. Most significantly, it will enable us to bring the results of cutting-edge research to the bedside in an accelerated manner," said Marna P. Borgstrom, President and CEO of Yale New Haven Hospital. "Ultimately this will provide real benefits to the patients we are all privileged to serve."

The Yale-UCL collaboration is the brainchild of Yale's Michael Simons and UCL's John Martin, two distinguished heart researchers and physicians. The new collaboration will immediately create new joint clinical programs to treat cardiomyopathy, congenital heart disease, sudden cardiac death and chronic total occlusion of the coronary arteries. In addition to exchanging expert physicians to treat individual cases at each site, the members of the collaboration will make use of telemedicine technology to share clinical information and expertise among themselves, and eventually with other institutions around the world.

"UCL Partners welcomes the many opportunities this collaboration creates," said Professor David Fish, Managing Director of UCL Partners. "We can learn from each others' different experiences, optimize complementary resources, and help find ways that better address the healthcare challenges of the populations we serve."

The system of comprehensive clinical care delivered by UCL's NHS-affiliated hospitals will enable joint longitudinal studies and clinical trials of new medicines which could greatly benefit patients. By analyzing healthcare delivery in the diverse settings overseen by each institution, researchers can work to develop best management practices for hospitals. UCL scientists will also benefit from new links to Yale's renowned scientists and physicians, and will be able to make use of Yale's world-class research infrastructure.

"This is a remarkable partnership between two of the world's top universities," said Professor Malcolm Grant, UCL President and Provost. "We will be combining forces to tackle some of the world's major problems, working closely with our partner hospitals. Ourinitial focus will be on cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurosciences. This will be a very active partnership and we look forward to the advances, in biomedicine and beyond, which will be the consequence of this unique alliance."

On the research front, the promise of the Yale-UCL collaboration is already starting to be realized, thanks to a $4.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Yale faculty members Martina Brueckner, M.D., Associate Professor of Pediatric Cardiology and Genetics, Richard Kim, M.D., Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Richard P. Lifton, M.D., Sterling Professor of Genetics and Internal Medicine, have teamed up with UCL's John Deanfield, British Heart Foundation Professor of Pediatric Cardiology and Professor William McKenna, Head of the Inherited Cardiovascular Disease Unit, to search for genes that cause congenital heart disease. The team will use cutting-edge genomic screening at Yale to investigate a large cohort of heart disease patients being followed at UCL, University of Rochester and Yale in order to identify disease genes.

Many other basic research projects are already underway on the genetic basis of hypertension and heart disease, as well as initiatives in drug discovery and imaging, areas in which Yale and UCL have top researchers and well-developed infrastructure. The collaboration will expand into other areas of basic research, including cancer biology, neuroscience and women's health. Partners in industry will be sought to advance those projects that have commercial applications.

Ideas for future collaborations include a transatlantic fiber-optic network joining high-performance computing resources at Yale and UCL to efficiently share data and a coordinated Ph.D. training program that will allow doctoral students to take advantage of the clinical and research resources of both Yale and UCL.

Learn more about The Collaborative

Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), part of Yale New Haven Health, is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine (YSM). Founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826, today, YNHH has two New Haven-based campuses, and also includes Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has received Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor of nursing excellence. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties.

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