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Strong representation from London and Greater South East in new Health Data Research Hubs

Health Data Research UK (HDRUK) have announced the seven Health Data Research Hubs that will be rolled out across the UK to enable cutting-edge research for health discoveries with the aim to give patients across the UK faster access to pioneering treatments.

Led by Health Data Research UK, these hubs aim to improve the lives of people with debilitating conditions, and will link up different types of health data and make it more easily accessible and user-friendly for research, while maintaining strict controls around data privacy and consent.

An organisation or institute from London and the Greater South East life sciences sector is involved in six of the seven hubs.

The potential benefits to patients include earlier diagnosis, the development of more effective treatments and more efficient management of the health service, all of which have the potential to improve outcomes, helping patients enjoy longer and healthier 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.

Neelam Patel, interim CEO of MedCity said:

“As an organisation whose aim is to connect excellence in life sciences across London, the greater south-east and the UK, we are delighted to see so many organisations involved in the health data research hubs. Health data has a vital role to play for both patients and the economic growth of the sector and this initiative will help the UK cement its position as a world leader in this area.

“From early involvement with the bidding process and discussions with our industrial partners we know there is a large amount of interest in the Health Data Research Hubs, both within the UK and internationally. We are looking forward to working with the successful centres to support industry engagement and access for the translation of research to patient care.”

The hubs are as follows:

DATA-CAN is a cancer health hub that aims to transform the ability of researchers to use high-quality cancer data, while ensuring all data is held securely and patients can decide how their data might be used. The national hub has been founded by researchers in London, Belfast and Leeds. The founding partners are UCLPartners, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Genomics England and IQVIA.

INSIGHT is 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. The founding partners are University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, University of Birmingham, Roche, Google Health and Action Against AMD.

Discover-NOW is 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. Working with NHS data from London and Manchester it is led by Imperial College Health Partners. and also has One London LHCRE, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust and North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups as partners.  Other partners are  NorthWest EHealth,  Dr Foster, Medopad, Genomics England, Janssen, Google, IBM, Discover, AstraZeneca and Novartis.

BREATHE is a respiratory hub involving Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London, King’s College London, the Greater London Authority and  NHS Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group (on behalf of One London LHCRE). It aims to improve the lives of people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The lead organisation is the University of Edinburgh and the other partners are  Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Swansea University, University of Leicester, Asthma UK, British Lung Foundation,  Respiri Ltd,  StormID, Tiny Medical Apps, Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK, BreatheOx,  GE Healthcare Finnamore Partners and Optimum Patient Care.

G.I. Know is 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. It is led by Eastern Academic Health Science Network and involves the  University of Cambridge, Cambridge University Health Partners and  University College Hospital. Other partners are Privitar,  IBD Registry Ltd, Crohn’s & Colitis UK,  Microsoft, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals, AIMES, Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester University NHS FT, Western General Hospital, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust.

NHS DigiTrial is a clinical trials hub that will increase opportunities for patients to participate in clinical trials. It is led by NHS Digital and involves Oxford University, Microsoft and IBM.

PIONEER is an acute care hub led by the University of Birmingham and is focussing on the use data from community health, the ambulance service and hospitals. Other partners are  Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Sandwell General Hospital, Society for Acute Medicine, West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Insignia Medical Systems Ltd,  Microsoft, Birmingham Out of Hours Research Database, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital, Solihull Hospital, Birmingham Women’s Hospital, Birmingham City Hospital, Rowley Regis Hospital, OCHA Database.


Patients, researchers and clinicians will work together to explore the safe and ethical use of health data.  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.

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