Population Data Science at Swansea University Medical School is delighted to announce its 13th Centre of Excellence – DATA-CAN – The Health Data Research Hub for Cancer.
DATA-CAN is a UK-wide partnership which aims to improve care and outcomes for people with cancer by making high quality health data more accessible in a secure and responsible fashion for cancer researchers and health professionals.
The associate partnership formalises a long-standing and proactive working relationship between DATA-CAN and Population Data Science at Swansea University Medical School. Our teams bring significant data science capability and learning to the DATA-CAN family, including through the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank – a Trusted Research Environment (TRE) containing billions of anonymised health, social and administrative records from the Welsh population.
One of DATA-CAN’s founding principles was that it should be a UK-wide partnership – drawing on the strengths of data research, and enabling access to health data, across all four nations. DATA-CAN now has formal partnership agreements with all four UK nations, including Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian, Swansea University, Genomics England, IQVIA, the universities of Exeter and Leeds, Leeds University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and our hosting partner – UCLPartners.
Our collaborations to date with DATA-CAN have so far included:
- Using near real-time health data to help health services identify specific challenges and to respond to events such as COVID-19, and the impact of cancer comorbidities on cancer patients and services during the pandemic.
- Co-developing data models and governance to work seamlessly across different healthcare and academic organisations.
- Linking genomics data to support genomic medicine and its contribution to enhanced cancer care.
SAIL Databank will support DATA-CAN researchers to use routinely-collected NHS health and clinical trial data related to cancer to answer specific questions and challenges. By working alongside other TRE’s from across the four UK home nations, SAIL will also help support the Cancer Data Network (CDN) to improve cancer outcomes for patients by monitoring treatments and interventions over time.
This collaboration will build on this work to improve data access opportunities across the UK and continue to develop research and funding opportunities in Wales.
Dr Charlie Davie, Director of DATA-CAN, said,
“In order to truly make a difference to unlock the power of health data to improve cancer patient outcomes, it is vital that we work across the entirety of the UK. I am delighted to formalise our long-standing relationship with Swansea University by welcoming them as an associate partner. Our partners across the UK, including Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England bring a wealth of expertise and experience which strengthens DATA-CAN and helps to make it a rich and diverse data hub.”
Professor of Public Health, Co-director of Population Data Science and HDR UK Research Director, Ronan Lyons, said,
“We are delighted that Swansea is formally joining the DATA-CAN family. Along with our existing cancer networks in Wales, which includes multi-disciplinary and multi-organisation partners from across the NHS, Public Health, Academia, and public members, this formal partnership with DATA-CAN enhances and strengthens these relationships. It enables further opportunities to be pursued, and we look forward to continuing to work together on research projects that not only benefit the population of Wales, but the whole of the UK and beyond.”
HDR UK Programme Manager in Population Data Science, Alysha Morgan, said,
“The existing structures and expertise we have amongst the HDR UK Swansea team, and across Population Data Science, will help DATA-CAN to responsibly maximise the utility of Wales’ health data. Working with our counterparts across the UK we will ensure that cancer researchers have the resources available to improve cancer services. Our established relationships with NHS health data providers in Wales will help maintain near real-time data analytics to support DATA-CAN’s priority areas.”
DATA-CAN funded Research Officer & Data Scientist at Population Data Science, Jun Han, added,
“It’s important that health data is complete and of high quality so that researchers and health professionals can make best use of it to ultimately benefit patients. My role as part of DATA-CAN is to support research that would utilise the SAIL Databank TRE through contribution to emerging cancer research topics, understanding new and novel data sources and linkages that can be enabled. The intelligence and knowledge generated can be shared through collaborations across the DATA-CAN Swansea partnership to benefit practice and policy.”
Prof Mark Lawler, DATA-CAN’s scientific lead said,
“Cancer does not respect political or national borders and neither should we. DATA-CAN has always taken a UK-wide approach to cancer intelligence, which is what makes our data hub so unique. By formalising our important partnership with Swansea University, we can gain insights that will help mitigate the disastrous impact of COVID-19 on cancer patients and cancer services across all four nations of the UK.”