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Improving cancer care through new data hub

Posted: 12th September 2019

Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network has welcomed the announcement that the region has been awarded £4.5 million to develop a new national data hub that aims to transform how cancer data from across the UK can be used to improve patient care.

Doctor in telemedicine concept pressing buttonsDATA-CAN – the Health Data Research UK Hub for Cancer – is being funded by Health Data Research UK, the national institute for health science data, which is also funding six other health data hubs.

The seven hubs are part of a four-year £37 million investment from the Government Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), led by UK Research and Innovation, to create a UK-wide capability for the safe and responsible use of health-related data on a large scale.

The national cancer data hub has been founded by researchers in London, Belfast and Leeds. The founding partners are:

  • UCLPartners
  • Queen’s University Belfast representing Northern Ireland and Wales
  • The University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, representing Yorkshire and the Humber
  • Genomics England

Collaborators from Yorkshire and Humber include the University of Leeds, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, the Yorkshire and Humber Local Health Care Record and Yorkshire & Humber AHSN.

Dr Neville Young, Yorkshire & Humber AHSN’s Director of Enterprise and Innovation, said: “This is another great digital health asset for the Yorkshire and Humber region that sits alongside the Yorkshire and Humber Care Record (YHCR) and the Northern Pathology Imaging Cooperative (NPIC).”

One in two people will get cancer during their lifetime. Every year, almost 400,000 new cases are diagnosed in the UK and cancer costs the NHS £7 billion annually.

DATA-CAN aims to transform how cancer data from across the UK can be used to improve patient care, diagnose the disease earlier, and enable people to access innovative new medicines, potentially contributing to saving the lives of 30,000 cancer patients a year.

Dr Charlie Davie, the DATA-CAN Director from UCLPartners, said: “This collaboration will transform how cancer clinical data is used to improve patient care.

“Working across all four nations of the United Kingdom, DATA-CAN is a unique partnership of NHS organisations, patients, charities, academia and industry working together to improve cancer care by harnessing anonymous clinical and genomics data to provide cancer patients with an earlier diagnosis, faster access to clinical trials, and access to innovative new personalised medicines.

“We’re privileged to be working with world leading experts in human data science. This unique collaboration will help us to deliver truly transformative change in cancer care.”

The Hub will transform the collection and examination of high-quality cancer data, while ensuring all data are held securely and patients are involved in decisions about how their data might be used.

Professor Andrew Morris, Director of Health Data Research UK, said: “The UK is home to some of the world’s leading researchers and innovators who have historically struggled to access large scale data about people’s health.

“Creating these hubs and the wider secure infrastructure will, for the first time, give researchers the opportunity to use data at scale to research the genetic, lifestyle and social factors behind many familiar common diseases and identify revealing data trends which may help with finding cures or treatments.”

Please visit the DATA-CAN web page for more details, to see the “Introducing DATA-CAN” video, and to sign up for further DATA-CAN news and information.