21 April 2003

Stars to turn out for Scottish premiere of Xmen 2

Stars from Scotland, the UK and overseas will attend the Scottish premiere of Hollywood blockbuster Xmen 2 in Edinburgh on Tuesday April 29.

Hollywood actor Brian Cox - one of Scotland's most successful stars - will introduce the film in which he plays arch villain General William Stryker.

The most influential people in Scotland have been invited to the red carpet event at Edinburgh Warner Village cinema complex in the city centre.

An after-show celebrity party will be held at Harvey Nichols' Edinburgh store.

The premiere is being organised by the University of Dundee. Earlier this month Brian Cox - who suffers from Type 2 diabetes - launched the campaign to build a new world-class research facility in Dundee. The man behind the campaign is one of the world's top scientists - Professor Sir Philip Cohen.

The University of Dundee is looking to raise 4m towards the 17.5m cost of the new research facility. All proceeds from the premiere will go towards the campaign.

The new centre - scheduled to open in 2005 - will employ 180 scientists and adjoin the existing Wellcome Trust Biocentre, which already houses some of Europe's top researchers. The world-class research base - as yet unnamed - will seek improved treatments for diabetes and global parasitic diseases such as malaria. Work will begin in 2003.

Cox said: "I am extremely pleased to be playing a small part in helping a great man and a talented team create a world-class research centre, which will potentially change the lives of thousands and thousands of people worldwide.

"Sir Philip's aim is to make Dundee and Scotland a world-leading centre in malaria and diabetes research and there are significant opportunities for companies willing to contribute to the project.

"I am really looking forward to the evening, the chance to meet up with some good friends and the opportunity to contribute to what is a very worthwhile cause."

Diabetes affects more than 150 million people worldwide, including nearly two million in the UK. That number is growing rapidly and diabetes is one of the fastest-growing threats to health in the UK today.

One child dies every 30 seconds in the developing world from malaria - more than 3,000 children every day and more than 1 million children every year. Tropical diseases attract very little attention from the pharmaceutical industry, because the affected people are too poor to buy medicines - the average healthcare budget in sub-Saharan Africa is less than 10 per person per year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) relies on the development of new drugs arising from academic research, like that in Dundee, to combat these terrible diseases.

Issued on behalf of the University of Dundee's Faculty of Life Sciences by Weber Shandwick, for further information please contact:

David Sawyer,
Weber Shandwick
Mob. 07770 886923
dsawyer@webershandwick.com

Jenny Marra
University of Dundee
Tel. 01382 344910
Mob. 07973 982283
j.m.marra@dundee.ac.uk

By Jenny Marra, Head of Press 01382 344910 j.m.marra@dundee.ac.uk