Seven new data hubs launched

Seven new data hubs are to be rolled out across the UK to speed up research for new medicines, treatments, and technologies that support quicker diagnoses and save lives.

The hubs will use the latest advances in technology to connect and analyse health data from existing locations and in partnership with the NHS, ensuring data is kept safe and secure.

The seven hubs are:

  • A cancer hub that 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
  • An eye health hub that will use data and advanced analytics, including artificial intelligence, to develop new insights in eye disease and how this applies to wider health such as dementia and diabetes
  • An inflammatory bowel disease hub that will use data to address the urgent need to better understand why patients with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis respond differently to treatments
  • An acute care hub that will use data from community health, the ambulance service and hospitals to enable innovative healthcare companies to develop, test and deliver advances in clinical care
  • A clinical trials hub to increase opportunities for patients to participate in clinical trials
  • A respiratory hub that aims to improve the lives of people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • A hub that aims to use real world data to improve understanding of many long-term conditions, starting with Type 2 Diabetes, finding new life saving treatments by using advanced technologies and artificial intelligence, and even preventing them altogether.

The Health Data Research Hubs are part of a four-year £37million investment from the UK Government Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to create a UK-wide system for the safe and responsible use of health-related data on a large scale.

Over 100 organisations from the NHS and universities to charities and technology and pharmaceutical companies across the UK are involved in the hubs.  The aim is to bring their collective expertise together to maximise the value of health data research potentially benefiting millions of people across the country.

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.”

“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.”

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said “We will all know someone who has been through the trauma of a devastating illness, and received care and treatment through our brilliant NHS. The new data hubs announced today have the potential to save millions of people’s lives. They will take the information the NHS has at its fingertips to identify patterns, speed up research and find the treatments we all hope for.”

“Backed by £37.5 million of government funding, this is a key part of our commitment to invest at least 2.4% in R&D, the biggest ever boost to R&D funding in UK history and keeping the nation at the forefront of scientific and medical discoveries.”