IQVIA joins landmark UK health data digital initiative

IQVIA will deliver technology and capabilities to support DATA-CAN, the new national Health Data Research Hub for Cancer, to improve outcomes for NHS cancer patients.

Global health technology and human data science company, IQVIA, will participate in one of seven new Health Data Research (HDR) Hubs announced on 12th September by Health Data Research UK (HDR-UK). The DATA-CAN HDR hub will leverage IQVIA’s experience in health-data- enabled clinical research, real world evidence studies, data curation and analysis.

DATA-CAN is a new National Cancer Health Data Research Hub, designed to transform the accessibility of high-quality cancer data across the UK. This collaboration is built on rigorous patient privacy and data protection governance, with the goal of improving clinical outcomes for the 500,000 people in the UK diagnosed with cancer every year. Improving outcomes will directly impact half of the UK population who will face a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lifetime - and could potentially contribute to saving 30,000 lives a year.

DATA-CAN will link clinical and genomic health data, while supporting universities, NHS hospitals and companies wishing to engage with this health data cancer research hub. This initiative is intended to accelerate oncologic diagnoses and the discovery of new personalised medicines for patients with cancer. The collaboration will also help empower the NHS to benefit from existing data sets to improve care for cancer patients and drive patient enrollment in clinical trials and real world evidence studies.

DATA-CAN will transform the collection, accessibility and analysis of health data to advance the discovery of new diagnostics and personalised medicines for cancer, whilst protecting patient privacy and keeping data safe. Initial data assets encompass disease-specific datasets (for colorectal cancer and paediatric malignancy); linked datasets from primary, secondary, and tertiary care; and IQVIA’s Oncology Data Network, providing real-time clinical analytics and clinical trial matching services. All have been selected as mature programmes with existing ethics approval in place, allowing immediate access.

DATA-CAN aims to support the use of data to deliver benefits to the NHS, its patients and healthcare professionals, improve the UK’s cancer health outcomes, enhance innovation and attract new global investment into UK life sciences. HDR UK’s Health Data Research Hub programme is part of the Government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy to make the UK a global leader in health data science.

DATA-CAN will have three areas of primary focus:

  1. Enable and expand UK-wide cancer dataset access for research
  2. Provide high-quality real-world data to support health and care transformation
  3. Use real world data to support patient enrollment in clinical trials, improve clinical trial design and reduce delays in clinical trial start-up times

The DATA-CAN collaboration of NHS bodies, and research organisations includes:

  • UCLPartners
  • Queens University, Belfast, representing Northern Ireland and Wales
  • University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals, representing Yorkshire and Humber
  • Genomics England
  • IQVIA

Data security will be central to the collaboration’s operations and patients will be centrally involved in decisions about how their information might be used. Data will be made available for appropriate use by approved researchers and innovators, and the collaboration will support them by providing expert advice from specialists who understand cancer and health data.

Tim Sheppard, Senior Vice President IQVIA said: 

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to combine information on cancer and its treatment, with genomic data from across the UK. It will provide opportunities for world-leading research into new treatments, and a data-enabled approach to preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer.

“Connecting these datasets through the IQVIA Oncology Data Network will enable rapid identification of patients suitable for a cancer trial and frontline cancer care quality analytics, including real-time insights on how treatments are performing in the real-world.

“IQVIA believes the UK has the potential to become a global leader in health data science and this announcement confirms our commitment to the UK’s vibrant life science sector.”

DATA-CAN Health Data Research Hub for Cancer Director, Dr Charlie Davie added: 

“Working across all four nations of the United Kingdom, DATA-CAN is a unique partnership of NHS organisations, patients, charities, academia and industry working together to improve cancer care by harnessing anonymous clinical and genetic data to provide cancer patients with faster access to clinical trials, and to enable the development of new and improved medicines and treatment approaches.

“The Hub will help us to provide the highest quality data allowing transformative change in cancer care.”

DATA-CAN Scientific Director, Prof Mark Lawler said:

“We are delighted to have won the support of HDR-UK in our bid and will now commence the vital work of leading the world in delivering improved cancer outcomes. This Cancer DIH has been designed ‘with the patient, around the patient and for the patient’ and represent a significant opportunity to improve patient’s lives.

“We welcome IQVIA’s key role in our collaboration, where their world leading expertise in human data science will help deliver truly transformative change in cancer.”

Joanne Hackett, Chief Commercial Officer of Genomics England said:

“We are delighted to be part of such an important Digital Innovation Hub. Cancer is an ever increasing part of our lives affecting millions of us here in the UK. We have a unique opportunity in this country to unite across healthcare, industry, and academia and focus our expertise on the fight against this complex group of diseases.

"This is an important demonstration of determination by the UK to lead on innovative and practical approaches to improve research and patient outcomes. We look forward to collaborating with our partners on this important work.”