Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in people under 40 in the UK. People with TBI can experience a range of serious and lifelong health issues, including dementia, epilepsy and poor mental health. 

A new UK-wide research platform – UK-TBI REpository and data PORTal Enabling discoveRy (TBI-REPORTER) – will be led by the University of Cambridge in collaboration with HDR UK to boost the use of data to advance treatment and care for people with traumatic brain injury.  

The platform has received £9.5 million in funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC), the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), the Ministry of Defence and Alzheimer’s Research UK. 

TBI-REPORTER brings together leading experts and builds on the successes of wider NHS and population-based UK research, such as UK Biobank and Dementias Platform UK (DPUK), to unite rich datasets from existing studies in TBI. This will enable research across the lifespan, from children to older adults, and support research into under-studied populations.  

Project lead Professor David Menon, Head of the Division of Anaesthesia at the University of Cambridge, said: “It is a privilege to lead this ambitious platform, which brings together a breadth of experts and draws on the lived experience of TBI survivors and their families, to improve care of traumatic brain injury. We also believe that our work, in combination with that of international partners, will re-energise drug development in TBI and deliver new treatments for patients.” 

Data collected by individual research projects investigating TBI has rarely been used outside the original study, even though it provides a potentially rich resource for understanding TBI and advancing its clinical care. The TBI-REPORTER platform will – for the first time – bring together these rich datasets and coordinate research data collection and clinical studies going forward. All of this will be made available to UK and international researchers to accelerate research in TBI and its impact on lifelong health.  

Brain injury survivor James Piercy said: “As one of the estimated 1 million people living with the results of a traumatic brain injury, I welcome this new initiative which promises to improve diagnosis and treatment of TBI: the ‘hidden disability’.” 

The hope is that TBI-REPORTER will lead to more people being treated effectively as doctors are able to better predict how a certain injury is likely to affect a patient with TBI and offer them individualised care. 

Read more about the TBI-REPORTER platform