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DATA-CAN: Health Data Research Hub for Cancer

DATA-CAN is a UK-wide partnership, hosted by UCLPartners, that aims to unlock the power of health data to improve cancer care.

Announced in September 2019, DATA-CAN: The Health Data Research Hub for Cancer will make high-quality health data more accessible for cancer researchers, clinicians and other health professionals. 

DATA-CAN will work with data custodians to connect health data from across the UK and make it easier to find, access and use. The hub will facilitate research into new treatments and improvements in care for people affected by cancer.

Working with patients, the public and health professionals, DATA-CAN will ensure that health data is used transparently and responsibly, and that the benefits are returned to the NHS and the wider UK community. 

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 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 founding partners of DATA-CAN are:

Watch: Introduction to DATA-CAN

Supporting data discovery for researchers

DATA-CAN is aiding data discovery for researchers by providing data sets for the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway. The Gateway is a portal to find and request access to UK health datasets. It has been created with input from patients, the public, researchers and innovators working in health and care in the UK and provides detailed information about datasets, such as a description, size of the population, and the legal basis for access.   

We are working with the NHS, research institutes and charities to provide datasets that are discoverable through the Innovation Gateway.

Data sets we are providing include whole pathway and population specific exemplars.

Find out more about the Gateway

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High-quality cancer data

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.

The NHS and other organisations already collect lots of health data. But it is not always easy for researchers to access and analyse data this data to develop new medicines and diagnostics and improve cancer services.

DATA-CAN will make it faster and easier for researchers to link and interpret data from across the NHS securely. This will enable research that develops better cancer care, gives patients faster access to clinical trials and creates new investment in UK healthcare.  

DATA-CAN works with data custodians (typically NHS trusts, research charities and others) who manage decisions on access to NHS data, operating within strict protocols. DATA-CAN is not a data custodian and so DATA CAN cannot grant access to NHS data.

Supporting organisations

DATA-CAN is supported by the following organisations:

DATA-CAN works with data custodians who always have the final decision on data access. This means that DATA-CAN partners, including commercial companies, do not have any special rights to access NHS data.


For further information about DATA-CAN please email