A new research facility opened today for scientists at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health, providing the space and equipment to study treatments and possible cures for people with prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and bone and joint problems.
The Robert H.N. Ho Research Centre at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) will focus on research in early detection and prevention of disease. It will house three internationally renowned research programs: the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, the Vancouver Prostate Centre and OvCaRe, the ovarian cancer research program.
“The opening of the Robert H.N. Ho Research Centre marks a new era in health research and will build on British Columbia’s strength as a leader in research and innovation,” said B.C. Health Minister Michael de Jong. “Work will focus on everything from hip fracture prevention to understanding the progression of prostate cancer and the development of new therapies.”
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.
“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,” said Dr. Martin Gleave, director of the Vancouver Prostate Centre and a professor in the dept. of urologic sciences. “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.”
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.
“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 Heather McKay, director of the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, and a professor in the dept. of orthopaedics. “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.”
The building is a partnership between the Province, federal government, Vancouver Coastal Health and UBC’s Faculty of Medicine.
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. Robert H.N. 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 health-care research.