Genomics England has competed the installation of Sectra’s enterprise imaging system, which will support the world’s largest multimodal cancer research platform.

Sectra’s technology will play a key role in allowing Genomics England to bring together underpinning data so that it can be harnessed in new ways by a wide range of researchers and scientists.

The enterprise imaging system allows NHS imaging data to be incorporated into Genomics England’s cancer data programme.

In addition, the Image Exchange Portal, used nationally in the NHS, will allow the organisation to transport images from participating NHS trusts.

The programme is linking whole genome sequencing, pathology and radiology data, to give scientists a better understanding of cancer. As a result, Genomics England hopes that it will lead to the development of new treatments, as well as support the development of cancer-targeting artificial intelligence (AI).

Dr Prabhu Arumugam, director of clinical data and imaging, and Caldicott Guardian for Genomics England, said: “The imaging system is already a very recognisable interface in NHS clinical settings, but we are using it in new ways. It will help us to harness imaging that we can then match to our genomic data, whilst de-identifying data to ensure confidentiality.

“The resulting multi-modal dataset will enable important research, break down traditional barriers, and support a safe and secure but accessible cloud-based research environment; that means many more people than bioinformaticians can harness genomic, pathology and radiology data.”

Initially, 30 NHS trusts in England are providing data on solid tumours – including around 250,000 pathology images and 200,000 radiology scans for 16,000 participants. Once the data in the system is matched with the genomics data, researchers will use multi-modal data to investigate and identify markers for cancer diagnostics and treatments.

The cloud deployment means not only is the new research platform easily accessible for users, but it also provides the flexibility to scale as more users come on board.

Jane Rendall, UK and Ireland managing director for Sectra, said: “We have been working with the NHS for decades in delivering digital maturity to diagnostic environments, including radiology and pathology.

“This project makes greater use of that work, with exciting possibilities for research that could be immense. I eagerly look forward to seeing research emerge, and from that the potential for life-changing and life-saving treatments for patients.”

Sectra imaging tools are widely used in the NHS and beyond. Last December Great Ormond Street deployed the company’s enterprise imaging solution, while a year ago Northern Ireland went live with Sectra for a unified medical imaging system.