Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Stem Cells, Cellular Therapy & Biobanking
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

New Developments in Big, Open Access Data for Dementia

Published: Thursday, June 19, 2014
Last Updated: Monday, June 23, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Prime Minister, David Cameron, pledged a UK commitment to discover new drugs and treatment that could slow down the on-set of dementia or even deliver a cure by 2025.

This was aligned with the official launch of the MRC’s UK Dementias Research Platform (UKDP)announced by Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, at the first Global Dementia Legacy Event held in London.

Imperial College London researchers are heavily involved in the UKDP big data initiative, which joins together ongoing studies across the UK to provide a research population approaching nearly 2 million people. They are also playing an important role in the largest of the contributing studies – the UK Biobank - which has recently started collecting imaging data on 100,000 participants, including scans of brains, hearts, bones and blood vessels.

Data from UK Biobank will be open access, allowing researchers from anywhere within the UK to tap into this vast resource. When possible, data from other studies in the UKDP will also will be made open access, promising a uniquely powerful way of enabling new discovery.  

Dr Craig Ritchie from theDepartment of Medicine, Imperial College London who is on the UKDP steering committee said: “This really is a game changer in dementia research and will be a phenomenal resource to answer the big questions. It will enable the research community to move seamlessly between different levels of data, which simply could not happen if we worked in our own separate research groups and areas. By involving major players in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, the platform will accelerate discovery of new treatments and interventions and allow the UK to take a leading role in the design and delivery of programmes to stop the progression of dementia.”

The UKDP is a public-private partnership that brings together top academic knowledge and cutting-edge technologies. The 22 studies that fall under its information umbrella will provide a research population approaching nearly 2 million people to evaluate dementia risk.  Bringing this data together will allow researchers to scale up individual studies to explore their significance in larger populations, and also to drill down into more specific data that is only available in smaller samples. For example, if researchers want to investigate dietary links to dementia at a population level they can investigate the biologically possibility of this in a smaller study with specific genetic data.

Amongst the 22 studies are the Imperial College London CHARIOT project (Cognitive Health in Ageing Register: Investigational, Observational and Trial studies in dementia research) which is a register of over 20,000 elderly people and  PREVENT  which is an ambitious pilot project into mid-life to try to identify biological markers of the disease.

The UK Biobank will be the largest project under the new UKDP data umbrella. This was launched to collect a range of health data on 500,000 people. One of its several goals is to understand the course of Alzheimer’s over time. In May, the UK Biobank launched the world’s most ambitious research imaging programme that will collect brain, heart, blood vessel and bone scans from 100,000 participants.  Scanning has begun in a single centre that is rapidly increasing its numbers, setting the ambitious goal of performing 18 full sets of scans and associated clinical examinations per day by September.

From the beginning of this ambitious project, researchers from Imperial College London have been involved in planning and translating the UK Biobank and its Imaging Enhancement from initial concept to current reality. Professor Paul Matthews Head of the Division of Brain Sciences in Department of Medicine at Imperial College London chairs the Imaging Working Group of the UK Biobank that initiated this recent addition to the observational studies. Several additional investigators from Imperial and other universities have developed the protocols for the different types of scan to ensure the data is correctly collected, stored and able to be shared.

“The Biobank promises to bring a new level of understanding to the risk of later life disease such as dementia,” says Professor Matthews. “It also shows the scientific community working together to address big challenges to answer important questions. No one will have special access to this rich dataset, although the many scientists volunteering their time to support the project are ensuring that it is truly ‘state of the art’. From the start, Imperial researchers have driven its development, moving it from a simple concept to the huge resource it will become in the near future. We are committed to this new scientific environment where open data creates a space for greater innovation and faster translation into treatment.”

Collaboration and knowledge-sharing is at the heart of these initiatives. Imperial College London is keen to open its doors further to this exciting new development in dementia research. It hosts the national Parkinson’s Disease Society brain bank and the MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre, which helps provide a basis for evaluating the phenomes (combination of physical and personal traits) that are important in dementia. The recently launched Imperial Data Science Institute is also committed to exploring important questions around healthcare strategy and particularly dementia.

Consultant psychiatrist and Co-Director of the Neuroepidemiology and Ageing Research Department at Imperial College London, Dr Robert Perneczky said: “The UKDP and the UK Biobank will contribute significantly to developing treatments and interventions for dementia. We still don’t really understand the disease and this is why there are currently no viable treatments. By collecting and amassing data at a population level we can bridge this knowledge gap by tracing progression of the disease, identifying markers that can indicate onset, and discovering new treatments and interventions that can be applied as early as possible. By using big data and opening it up to innovation we can now start to take big steps towards preventing and halting dementia.”

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Test Uses Human Stem Cells to Identify Dangerous Side Effects of Drugs
New test uses combinations of cells from a single donor's blood.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Using Human Stem Cells To Identify Dangerous Side Effects Of Drugs
Scientists have developed a test that uses cells from a single donor's blood to predict whether a new drug will cause a severe reaction in humans.
Monday, March 09, 2015
Vital New Insight into How we Produce New Brain Cells
Researchers have identified a key mechanism in the birth of new brain cells, with implications for treating brain injury and diseases.
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
What Lies Behind the Death of Stem Cells
Researchers have identified key processes that control stem cell survival, providing insights that could improve their use in medicine.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Stem Cells Show Promise for Stroke in Pilot Study
Findings are published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.
Saturday, August 09, 2014
Pilot Study Shows Stem Cells Hold Promise for Stroke Therapy
A stroke therapy using stem cells extracted from patients' bone marrow has shown promising results in the first trial of its kind in humans.
Friday, August 08, 2014
Discrepancies in Stem Cell Trial Data Linked to Reported Success of Treatment
New research looking at the success of clinical trials of stem cell therapy shows that trials appear to be more successful in studies where there are more discrepancies in the trial data.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Stem Cells Enable Personalized Treatment for Bleeding Disorder
Scientists use endothelial cells to treat von Willebrand disease.
Monday, April 08, 2013
£73m Powerhouse of Biomedical Research Opens at Imperial College London
Designed to expand and accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Scientists Find Key Protein that Suppresses Prostate Cancer Growth in the Laboratory
Scientists at Imperial College London found that a protein called FUS inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells in the laboratory, and activates pathways that lead to cell suicide.
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Huge “biobank” for Research into Major Diseases to be set up by Qatar and Imperial College London
A “biobank” of samples and clinical measurements from tens of thousands of people is to be established in Qatar to help scientists understand the causes of major diseases and develop new treatments, it is announced today.
Monday, November 01, 2010
Scientists Discover Cells that Control Inflammation in Chronic Disease
Discovery could lead to new treatments for these diseases that would bring the cells under control.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Master Gene that Switches on Disease-fighting Cells Identified by Scientists
The master gene that causes blood stem cells to turn into disease-fighting 'Natural Killer' (NK) immune cells has been identified by scientists, in a study published in Nature Immunology today.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Scientists Closer to Making Implantable Bone Material, Thanks to New Research
Scientists are closer to understanding how to grow replacement bones with stem cell technology, thanks to research published today in the journal Nature Materials.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Award for Pioneering Stem Cell Research to Mend Broken Bones
New funding could lead to the development of new and better treatments for broken bones and other orthopaedic problems.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Scientific News
How a Genetic Locus Protects Adult Blood-Forming Stem Cells
Mammalian imprinted Gtl2 protects adult hematopoietic stem cells by restricting metabolic activity in the cells' mitochondria.
Fat Cells Originating from Bone Marrow Found in Humans
Cells could contribute to diabetes, heart disease.
Ancient Viral Molecules Essential for Human Development
Genetic material from ancient viral infections is critical to human development, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
CRI Identifies Emergency Blood-formation Response
Researchers report that when tissue damage occurs, an emergency blood-formation system activates.
New Way to Force Stem Cells to Become Bone Cells
Potential therapies based on this discovery could help people heal bone injuries or set hardware, such as replacement knees and hips.
Dead Bacteria to Kill Colorectal Cancer
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have successfully used dead bacteria to kill colorectal cancer cells.
Promise of Newborn Stem Cells to Revolutionize Clinical Practice
In this article Shweta Sharma, PhD, discusses the potential of an Umbilical Cord Blood bank as an untapped source of samples for research and clinical trials.
The Life Story of Stem Cells
A model analyses the development of stem cell numbers in the human body.
Novel Stem Cell Line Avoids Risk of Introducing Transplanted Tumors
Progenitor cells might eventually be used to repair or rebuild damaged or destroyed organs.
Advancing Genome Editing of Blood Stem Cells
Genome editing techniques for blood stem cells just got better, thanks to a team of researchers at USC and Sangamo BioSciences.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos