A new Medical Bioinformatics Centre funded by the Medical Research Council will usher in a new generation of integrated research that benefits patients. Organisations using SystmOne and their patients will be given opportunities to be involved with research that is supported by the centre.
The Leeds MRC Centre will build a highway for pseudonymised data linkage and a virtual environment for conducting secure, consented research. This will enable patient record, clinical and molecular data to be integrated securely for projects that aim to improve patient care. As a partner, TPP will develop a method for patient recruitment and linking to consented and non-identifiable record data.
Patient health and response to treatment is shaped by many factors which this centre will link together. Understanding of patient care may be improved by joining information from, for example, patient records in hospitals and GP practices, questionnaires and DNA sequencing. By enabling such comprehensive research, this centre may lead to insights into the molecular drivers of disease, improved ways of diagnosis, and relevant information for treatment decisions. This will lead to a more personalised delivery of care for every patient.
The new MRC Centre draws on the rich expertise that exists in Leeds. The Lead Principle Investigator, Professor Sir Alex Markham, brings experience in developing genetic tools and embedding these in routine NHS diagnostic practice. One skill-set that is led by co-investigator Professor David Westhead is machine-led classification of cancer and pattern-discovery. TPP’s SystmOne centrally hosts patient records from primary, secondary and social care and bring expertise in record linkage and research. The centre brings such strands together in order to help bring genetic sequencing into routine, every-day screening, diagnosis and treatment planning for the NHS.
A method for linking consented patient record, clinical and genetic information and hosting research in a virtual research environment will be developed. The model developed by ResearchOne for transforming patient record information into non-identifiable, ethically approved research outcomes is being adopted by Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust. Leeds will develop a virtual research environment using its high-performance computational capacity to enable secure research access to linked molecular and record data held in safe havens. This will forge the future for secure, integrated research.
The MRC Centre will lead research in four key areas. The stream led by Professor Timothy Bishop joins patient record, environmental and genetic data to understand how cancer grows and spreads, and how it responds to treatment. Work will also identify genes associated with inherited diseases such as neuro-developmental delay, and ways to detect kidney diseases. This includes Acute Kidney Injury, which affects over 20% of patients in hospital. A fourth stream will research the relationships between genes, cancer tumour response, and outcomes such as long-term survival that are identified from patient records. Outcomes from these projects will help to shape care in hospitals and the community.