Baroness Tessa Jowell is to be the first cancer patient to hand over her medical data to a global database that aims to discover the next generation of cures for rare cancers.
The former culture secretary, who has an aggressive brain tumour, will submit her health data to the Universal Cancer Databank (UCD).
The UCD, a project by the Eliminate Cancer Initiative and part-funded by the Minderoo Foundation, uses donated patient data to improve drug discovery and quality of care by allowing researchers to access the anonymised data for free.
Baroness Jowell said: “It is my hope that through my cancer journey and sharing of my data, we will be able to develop better treatments for cancer and speed up the discovery of new ones.
“I’m grateful to the Eliminate Cancer Initiative and all the people who have shown me such support since I learned I had a brain tumour.
“Together, with hope, we can achieve greater survival for cancer patients across the world.”
The UCD project aims to connect a range of existing and developing database projects into a unified databank, including the UK’s landmark BRIAN database, a collaboration led by Britain’s major brain tumour charity with the NHS and Public Health England.
The project is being led by Australian philanthropist, Andrew Forrest, who is also a founder of the Eliminate Cancer Initiative.
He said: “My motivation for establishing the Universal Cancer Databank is simple: the bravery, leadership and the challenge set out for us by patients like Tessa Jowell.
“I am an entrepreneur not an oncologist, but I understand that extraordinary challenges require extraordinary measures.
“In this case that means patients and researchers from around the world sharing clinical and genomic data to break the gridlock on the most deadly cancers.”
Back in July 2017, Digital Health News reported on a survey by Internet Trends that revealed that people are willing to share their health data with leading tech brands such as Google.