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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Sheikha Fatima's Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children celebrates milestone in London

The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children is due to be completed at the end of 2018

A nurse comforts a patient at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, the UK’s best-known children’s hospital. Dylan Martinez / Reuters
A nurse comforts a patient at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, the UK’s best-known children’s hospital. Dylan Martinez / Reuters

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), the world's most famous children's hospital, celebrated reaching a crucial milestone in the construction of the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children as the building reached its highest point.

A ceremony was held to mark the occasion attended by Sulaiman Hamid Al Mazrouei, UAE Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Professor Maha Barakat, Advisor to the Executive Council of the Government of Abu Dhabi and a number of officials from the Government of Abu Dhabi.

The centre was made possible thanks to a generous £60 million donation from Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the only surviving wife of the founder of the UAE.

When it is completed at the end of 2018, the Zayed Centre will be the first purpose-built centre of its kind in the world. It will bring together hundreds of clinicians and researchers under one roof to drive forward new treatments and cures for children with rare diseases, and will support translational research that focuses on taking discoveries from the lab bench to the patients’ bedsides.

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During the ceremony, Mr Al Mazrouei expressed his gratitude to Sheikha Fatima for her generous support locally and internationally. He also thanked the partners and shareholders of the centre for their ongoing commitment to the project.

He said: "The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children is an innovative and collaborative partnership that brings together world-class medical and scientific expertise, which will have an immediate and lasting impact on the lives of many children from around the world."

GOSH sees children from more than 90 countries and specialises in the treatment of children with rare diseases. These include children from the UAE who come to the hospital to be treated for a range of conditions including rare heart and neurological conditions.

Work has now begun on the interior of the centre, which will house state-of-the-art laboratories and highly-specialised facilities for the development of new gene and stem cell therapies as well as a much-needed outpatient clinic.

The construction of the building involved the demolition of an office block built in the 1960's, which was being used by the University of London and had been disused for some time. Designed by award-winning architects Stanton Williams, construction of the new building began in 2017 by Swedish contractor Skanska, who is responsible for the construction, mechanical and electrical fit-out of the facility.

The topping out event was celebrated with a traditional Scandinavian ‘flying of the fir’ in which a fir tree was flown over the building by tower crane, as well as a final pouring of cement, in a rooftop ceremony.