A new life science hub, with upgraded transport connections to the centre of London, is both important and a "real coup" for Sutton.

This was the vision laid out by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, as he visited the Institute of Cancer Research in Belmont this morning.

Mr Johnson, visited the research facility, which today was announced as the country's leading university, for the impact of its research has on society - topping Imperial College, London School of Economics and the Oxbridge powerhouses, and backed the proposals to transform it into the second biggest campus of its kind in the world.

Mr Johnson said: "London is already a global capital of science and the city is awash with numerous exciting research institutions. Through MedCity we want to harness this academic prowess to spur the discovery of new treatments and propel the sector so it becomes a key contributor to the capital’s growth and health. A new life sciences campus at Sutton would be a real coup for the city and underline our reputation as the place to be for game-changing science."

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Boris Johnson looking at an early stage leukemia blood sample.

The day almost never happened though as transport issues meant Mr Johnson was delayed, in a timely example of how important world-class transport infrastructure is for a world class science hub.

His office confirmed that the extension of the capital's tram network, to extend from Wimbledon to Sutton with a spur to the medical hub, forms part of its business plan.

Mr Johnson did lean towards caution though saying that "everybody talks about trams" being very popular and being a "very good solution" but you had to make sure everybody was on board as there would almost inevitably be dissent from those living along the route.

He said: "What this visit has shown is how important it is to have this part of London connected up."

Referring to its league leading status, Mr Johnson added: "These incredible results demonstrate precisely why our city is regarded as home to a vibrant life sciences sector with the best and most exciting research institutions in the world.

"The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is a creative powerhouse tackling major global challenges at home and abroad; such expertise is why my team created MedCity, an initiative that intends to harness the incredible academic prowess found in London to spur the discovery of new treatments, and enable the sector to become a key contributor to our economic growth and health."

During his trip to the institute, which has a record of scientific achievement dating back more than 100 years, Mr Johnson viewed the first phase of the new £20m Centre for Cancer Imaging project.

He learned how the ICR intends to work with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, with the support of the London Borough of Sutton, to transform their joint site into a world-leading campus specialising in cancer research, diagnosis, treatment, education and biotech commercialisation.

According to the ICR the new research campus will be second only in size globally to the MD Anderson campus in Texas, America and provide a major boost to London’s life sciences sector.

The new 192,000 square metre space for enterprise, research and medical facilities, there will also feature a new secondary school specialising in life sciences.

The project is expected to create 9,000 full time jobs, boost London’s economy by millions of pounds and lead to increased collaboration with biotech and pharmaceutical companies by developing new incubator facilities, in order to get drugs to patients more quickly, the ICR said.

Eliot Forster, executive chairman of MedCity, said: "The Institute of Cancer Research is already a major world centre for the development and commercialisation of novel cancer therapies.

"Its proposals for Sutton have the potential to accelerate this important work, particularly because they are founded on bringing together all partners in the process of drug development - all the way from basic research to the patient and the market.

"It's a collaborative model being pursued across the region, from the Crick Institute and Imperial West to AstraZeneca's Global R&D Centre in Cambridge, that will hugely speed up the translation of research findings into better therapies for patients and in turn deliver greater economic growth."