Representatives of UKCMRI attended a public meeting of about 50 people on 4 October organised by St Pancras and Somers Town Planning Action group.
UKCMRI described to attendees the work to be undertaken by the institute and the numerous ways in which the building design has evolved taking account of feedback from local residents.
Interim Chief Executive of UKCMRI, John Cooper, explained that the institute's research will focus on finding the underlying causes of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other significant diseases that affect people. He confirmed that research into influenza would form a small part of the institute's work. This has been carried out in complete safety at the National Institute for Medical Research's Mill Hill laboratories for 60 years and discoveries made there help in the development of today's annual 'flu vaccine.
He reassured the audience that there were no plans to research more serious diseases, such as Ebola or Smallpox, which UKCMRI's founding institutes 'do not and will not' study.
The new institute's proximity to the extensive range of scientific and medical institutions already in Camden will enable scientists to work together closely to turn discoveries into cures, vaccines and drugs for major diseases. The NHS and its patients will benefit from these for many years.
John Cooper said: "Two of the main causes of death in Somers Town are cancer and heart disease. The fact that we will be working with hospitals which are directly treating people in this area means they will be able to benefit at an early stage from our work."
UKCMRI will bring employment and training opportunities to the area during the construction phase which is scheduled to start in spring 2011 if planning permission is granted by the end of this year. Further opportunities will be available when the institute opens.