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Swansea University’s SAIL Databank plays key role in a £4.6m UK-wide consortium on improving lives of millions with respiratory illness.

SAIL Databank at Swansea University Medical School is a partner of the £4.6m UK-wide consortium BREATHE - Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health. 

One of the seven new data hubs being rolled out across the UK today by Health Data Research UK, BREATHE will use data to advance the development of new treatments and innovation in care delivery for conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and respiratory infections, that will benefit the NHS, patients and industry. 

SAIL Databank is utilised to manage BREATHE data and will provide UK’s wider research community remote access to the data it holds safely and securely for respiratory research to help improve the lives of people living with respiratory conditions in the UK. 

Professor David Ford, Director of SAIL Databank at Swansea University Medical School and Chief Data Officer for BREATHE said: “The UK has the richest datasets on respiratory illness in the world, but they are fragmented, inconsistently structured and difficult to access. 

“Working with experts in respiratory research from right across the UK, we will create a step change in the speed and scale of research possible, by making the UK’s relevant data resources quicker, easier and safer to find and use, by utilising SAIL Databank’s established systems and team. 

“SAIL Databank will be providing a ‘one-stop’ service for trustworthy, multi-stakeholder utilisation of curated respiratory data for public, private and third sector benefit, positioning the UK at the forefront of data driven innovation.”

Professor Aziz Sheikh of the University of Edinburgh and Director of BREATHE said: “I’m delighted that BREATHE will be working closely with colleagues at Swansea University to transform the UK’s respiratory health.

“As a long-term admirer of the outstanding SAIL Databank, I am very pleased that we will be able to draw on its considerable expertise in securely and responsibly managing patient data for public benefit.”  

BREATHE is selected by an independent panel involving patient and public representatives, clinicians, academics and industry following an open competition. 

Head of Swansea University Medical School Professor Keith Lloyd said: “We are delighted that Swansea has been chosen to play a crucial role in such an important and exciting development. 

“The potential benefits of these hubs include earlier diagnosis, the development of more effective treatments and more efficient management of the NHS, all of which could really help our patients enjoy longer and healthier lives.” 

BREATHE is one of the Health Data Research Hubs, a four-year £37million investment from the Government Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), led by UK Research and Innovation. 

The aim is to create a UK-wide network for the safe and responsible use of health-related data on a large scale. 

Professor Andrew Morris, Director of Health Data Research UK, said: “The UK is home to some of the world’s leading researchers and innovators who have historically struggled to access large scale data about people’s health.  Creating these hubs and the wider secure infrastructure will, for the first time, give researchers the opportunity to use data at scale to research the genetic, lifestyle and social factors behind many familiar common diseases and identify revealing data trends which may help with finding cures or treatments.  

“With a clear focus on data security, safety and public involvement, this is an important and exciting next step in the UK’s health data proposition and builds on the fantastic strengths we have across our health service, universities and industry.”   

The BREATHE consortium includes: Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Swansea University, University of Leicester, Queen Mary University of London, Kings College London, Asthma UK, British Lung Foundation, NHS Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group (on behalf of One London LHCRE), Greater London Authority, Respiri Ltd, StormID, Tiny Medical Apps, Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK, BreatheOx, GE Healthcare, Finnamore Partners and Optimum Patient Care.


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