Patients in the East Midlands with respiratory illnesses including asthma and COPD will benefit from a pioneering data hub announced today.
Researchers in Leicester and Nottingham are part of the UK’s first dedicated data hub for respiratory illnesses that will enable cutting-edge research for health discoveries and aim to give patients across the UK faster access to pioneering new treatments.
The BREATHE Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health is one of seven data hubs announced today which will aim to improve the lives of people with debilitating conditions by linking up different types of health data to make it more easily accessible and user-friendly for research. Researchers from centres of excellence in Nottingham and Leicester will join with partners from across the UK, including the NHS, academia and charities to develop the new Hub:
Professor Ian Hall, COPD lead for the Hub and Director of the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre said: “I am delighted that researchers in Leicester and Nottingham will be playing a major role in helping the national Hub deliver its objectives. This will build on a decade of close collaboration between these the NIHR Nottingham and Leicester Biomedical Research Centres, and on the extensive links we have already put in place across the UK. Ultimately our aim is to accelerate access to relevant health data to facilitate research into lung diseases and to improve patient care”.
Professor Martin Tobin, Chief Scientific Officer for the Hub, and Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Leicester said: “The award of this strategic funding enables us to work closely with patients and the public to improve research aimed at the prevention and treatment of lung diseases. It will enable more powerful studies, including understanding disease progression, enabling drug development and clinical trials that address some of the most pressing problems in healthcare.”
Patients, researchers and clinicians will work together to explore the safe and ethical use of health data for research into specific diseases including cancer, Crohn’s disease and asthma. The hubs will also enable access to data for trialling new treatments and support improvements in clinical care. Patients will be involved in decisions about how their data is used to ensure the benefits are returned to the NHS and the wider UK community, and existing rules for accessing data safely and securely will continue to apply.
The Health Data Research Hubs are part of a four-year £37million investment from the UK Government Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) announced in November 2017 led by UK Research and Innovation, to create a UK-wide system for the safe and responsible use of health-related data on a large scale. The hubs will also stimulate further economic growth through greater research activity.
Professor Andrew Morris, a doctor with a special interest in diabetes and 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.
With a clear focus on data security, safety and public involvement, this is an important and exciting next step in the UK’s health data proposition and builds on the fantastic strengths we have across our health service, universities and industry.”
Each hub was selected following an open competition by an independent panel involving patient and public representatives. They were assessed against criteria that included the potential for impact, the innovative uses of data, plans for involving patients and the public, and the value for public funding.