We are taking this opportunity to focus on UK Biobank and its distinctive and valuable role in the UK’s health research landscape
UK Biobank -health data for the public good
UK Biobank is a large-scale biomedical database and research resource, containing in-depth genetic and health information from half a million UK participants. In line with HDR UK’s own mission, UK Biobank’s database, which is regularly augmented with additional data, is globally accessible to approved researchers and scientists undertaking vital research into the most common and life-threatening diseases.
Between 2006-2010, UK Biobank recruited 500,000 people aged between 40-69 years from across the UK. With their consent, they provided detailed information about their lifestyle, physical measures and had blood, urine and saliva sample collected and stored for future analysis. Since access opened in 2012 UK Biobank has approved over 19,000 registrations from researchers working in over 3,000 institutes in 70 countries and approved over 2,500 applications to enable these researchers to access this valuable resource.
This resource is a major contributor to the advancement of modern medicine and treatment, enabling better understanding of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses –including cancer, heart diseases and stroke.
Using data to respond to Covid-19
Like many large research projects, UK Biobank took quick action to establish a major study related to Covid-19, to help tackle the global pandemic. UK Biobank’s serology study collected monthly blood samples and data on potential symptoms from 20,000 UK Biobank participants and their adult children and grandchildren. The final results were released recently, revealing that the vast majority of people retain detectable antibodies for at least 6 months after infection with the coronavirus.
UK Biobank and the Innovation Gateway
The Innovation Gateway allows researchers to discover and search for information on a range of different health datasets. Listing different aspects of the UK Biobank dataset on the Gateway provides researchers further insight into Biobank data, as well as allowing application for access to the data. One of the Gateway’s overarching aims is ensuring access to rich, valuable health datasets securely to help advance research and understanding, and we are happy to be working with UK Biobank who share these values.
Naomi Allen, Chief Scientist, UK Biobank and Professor of Epidemiology, University of Oxford:
“Having previously worked with HDR UK on implementing best practice for data standards for population research studies, we’re pleased to cement this relationship further and underline our commitment to open science by listing UK Biobank data on the Innovation Gateway. These include genome-wide data, genotyping and imputation, exome sequencing data and hospital in-patient admission records; all of key importance to health researchers in the UK and abroad.”
Paola Quattroni, Alliance Delivery Manager, Health Data Research UK:
“Last month, there were over 15,000 searches for health datasets on the HDR Innovation Gateway, so we know we are really starting to build traction for this great platform. The UK Biobank datasets are listed with excellent descriptions and metadata, providing even more helpful information to researchers.”
Health Data Research UK
About the UK Health Data Research Alliance
The UK Health Data Research Alliance is an independent alliance of leading healthcare and research organisations united to establish best practice for the ethical use of UK health data for research at scale. We develop and co-ordinate the adoption of tools, techniques, conventions, technologies, and designs that enable the use of health data in a trustworthy and ethical way for research and innovation.
The UK has some of the richest health and research datasets and assets world-wide but only a fraction are accessible. By convening the UK health data research sector, the Alliance is helping to realise the full potential and value from the data, accelerate the development of new treatments, innovation and progress towards a more efficient health and social care service.
There are currently over 40 leading UK health research member organisations; a number which is growing all the time.
If your organisation is interested in finding out more about or joining the Alliance, please contact Paola Quattroni.
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