A new UK data research hub has been launched to support research into chronic pain.
Health Data Research UK, the Medical Research Council and charity Versus Arthritis have collaborated to form the Alleviate: APDP pain research data hub.
The hub aims to maximise the value of chronic pain data from a range of sources for researchers and innovators to develop new treatments for the condition.
Those wishing to access the data can do so through the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway, an array of UK health-related datasets accessible by researchers and innovators.
Alongside developing new treatments it’s hoped access to the data will result in a better understanding of the causes of chronic pain and faster diagnosis to ultimately improve the physical and mental health of people diagnosed with the condition.
Emily Jefferson, hub director for Alleviate, said: “Chronic pain is a major unmet global public health challenge, affecting around one in five people and causing more disability than any other condition, anywhere in the world.
“This new UK-wide pain data hub will deliver world class health data infrastructure and services for pain research, guided by leading experts in pain research and in partnership with the NHS, the APDP consortia, industry partners.
“By working with people who have lived experience of chronic pain means we will be able to use the data for research that matters most to them.”
Chronic pain is diagnosed when general pain lasts for longer than expected. General pain is the body’s normal reaction to an injury or condition but for some people that pain can last months or years.
Pain that lasts for three to six months or more is classified as chronic pain.
Many pain-related datasets from research studies already exist across the UK but prior to now there has been no national approach to coordinating and managing the data.
The HDR UK led Alleviate Hub is designed to address this challenge by safely and ethically bringing together pain-related data from diverse UK research cohorts, providing researchers and innovators with the ability to link pain-related health data.
Anthony Chuter, patient representative for Alleviate, said: “As someone who has lived with and in pain for 30 years and experienced first-hand the devastating impact that pain can have on someone’s life, this initiative is really exciting.
“Researchers need access to data about people who are living with and in pain and Alleviate will enable them to find the data and help link it to other health records.
“I am so pleased to be involved with this and to have a chance to make a difference. I’m looking forward to connecting other people who live with pain to this initiative to make sure that our perspectives are listened to and shape what’s ok and what’s not ok around the use of our data.”
The Alleviate Hub joins an existing network of eight Health Data Research Hubs.
It will be run in partnership with the University of Dundee; University of Nottingham; King’s College London; Imperial College London; University of Oxford; University of Bath; and Cambridge Institute for Medical Research.
It is funded by the Medical Research Council and Versus Arthritis.