12 September 2019

New cancer data hub to enable cutting-edge research and innovation to benefit UK patients

A new UK-wide partnership, hosted by UCLPartners, aims to transform how cancer data from across the UK can be used to improve patient care.

DATA-CAN – The Health Data Research UK Hub for Cancer – will work with patients across the UK to bring their clinical data together and use this data to help develop improved cancer treatments, give patients faster access to clinical trials, and understand how we can improve NHS cancer services. The Hub will be supported by patients, charities, clinicians, academic and industry-based researchers and innovators, and will involve cancer hospitals across the UK.

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 £7bn annually. Using cancer data more effectively could improve cancer survival rates, potentially contributing to saving the lives of 30,000 cancer patients a year.

DATA-CAN 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. It is one of seven Health Data Research Hubs being set up across the UK to speed up research for new medicines and treatments, support quicker diagnoses and potentially save lives

The Health Data Research Hubs are part of a four-year £37million investment from the Government Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), 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 national 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
  • University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals, representing Yorkshire and Humber
  • Genomics England
  • IQVIA

DATA-CAN will support the use of data to deliver benefits for patients and healthcare professionals, improve the health of UK citizens, enable world-leading medical research and create new investment in healthcare.

DATA-CAN Director Dr Charlie Davie of UCLPartners said:

“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 genetic data to provide cancer patients with faster access to clinical trials, and to enable the development of new and improved medicines and treatment approaches.

“The Hub will help us to provide the highest quality data allowing transformative change in cancer care”

Jacqui Gath, Cancer survivor and patient advocate (ICPV/YHCRP), said:

“Patients want their data to be used to improve care. In fact they’re often surprised it’s not used already.

“The work of the Hub and the new research it engenders will bring hope to the people who are diagnosed every year with this awful disease. One in two people will get cancer in their lifetimes and this Hub offers the hope and opportunity of saving 30,000 lives a year.”

 DATA-CAN Scientific Director, Professor Mark Lawler of Queen’s University Belfast said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with HDR-UK and will now commence the vital work to use data to deliver much better cancer outcomes for our patients.

“This Hub has been designed with the patient, around the patient and for the patient. It represents a significant opportunity to improve patients’ lives.

Professor Geoff Hall, from the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and Clinical Director of DATA-CAN, said:

“This project will help empower the NHS to use data and analytics to optimise care for patients, while supporting universities and companies who work with us to discover and develop new treatments.

“A key focus of the hub will be to support the development and delivery of clinical trials and to identify which trials are suitable for individual patients. By doing so we will ensure patients have access to new, potentially life-saving treatments.”

Joanne Hackett, Chief Commercial Officer, Genomics England, said:

“Improving patient outcomes requires a deep understanding of the molecular pathways involved in cancer progression and treatment. Through collaboration with our DATA-CAN partners, we will be able to offer a world-leading opportunity for industry to leverage the unique data assets in the UK to significantly improve the life of cancer patients in the future.”

Tim Sheppard, Senior Vice President, IQVIA, said:

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to combine information on cancer and its treatment, with genomic data from across the UK. It will provide opportunities for world-leading research into new treatments, and a data-enabled approach to preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer.

“IQVIA believes the UK has the potential to become a global leader in health data science and this announcement confirms our commitment to the UK’s vibrant life science sector.”