The £6.5 million The Newlife Birth Defects Research Centre will be home to three specialist teams who will examine ways to prevent birth defects - which affect 2% of European pregnancies.
– Professor Andrew Copp, head of The Newlife Birth Defects Research Centre
A huge amount of research needs to be done. The Newlife Birth Defects Research Centre will be the first research grouping to focus specifically on understanding how birth defects arise, and finding new ways to treat and prevent them.
A multi-million pound research centre dedicated to investigating birth defects opens in the capital today.
The Newlife Birth Defects Research Centre is Europe's first centre to examine the diagnosis and treatment of birth defects.
The centre, based at University College London's Institute of Child Health, was funded through donations given to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.
Professor Andrew Copp, head of the centre, said: "We are able to prevent only a very small number of birth defects. We remain ignorant of what actually causes common birth defects such as cleft palate, heart defects and spina bifida."