University of Birmingham becomes part of a €19m European heart disease project

The University of Birmingham is part of a major new €19m project aimed at breaking new ground for the development of treatments for millions of patients with heart disease in Europe (University of Birmingham, 2017).

BigData@Heart is a five year project run by the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a European public-private consortium consisting of patient networks, pharmaceutical companies and organisations including the University of Birmingham. The consortium will use healthcare data to deliver better care for people who suffer heart attacks, heart failure and the most common heart rhythm disturbance, atrial fibrillation. Despite major progress in treatments, these conditions present a substantial burden to the estimated thirty million people in Europe who suffer from cardiovascular diseases, and to the healthcare systems that care for them. The project will utilise patient data from millions of patients across Europe to develop improved and personalised treatments.

Professor Paulus Kirchhof, deputy director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, who is leading the work for the University of Birmingham, said “We are very excited to be part of the BigData@Heart project and the ultimate goal is to develop a data-driven translational research platform of unparalleled scale, driving drug development through advanced analytics. Working collaboratively with leading experts, the University of Birmingham will be instrumental in shaping treatment and management of cardiovascular diseases in Europe. This is an amazing opportunity to translate recent preclinical findings into better concepts for patient care. Being chosen to be part of such a significant project reflects the University’s reputation for excellence in the analysis of big data sets and we look forward to working as part of this consortium over the next five years.”

Atrial fibrillation, heart failure and acute coronary syndrome are major drivers of cardiovascular disease, which causes more than 3.9 million deaths each year across Europe, accounting for 45% of all deaths, with 1.3 million of these deaths occurring before the age of seventy five. The total cost of cardiovascular disease in Europe is €210bn a year; €111bn in health care costs, €54bn in productivity losses and €45bn in informal care. Currently, the management these conditions is complicated by their complex prognoses, which makes patients’ responses to therapy unpredictable, with large variations amongst individuals and, importantly, small or undetectable treatment effects in large patient trials.

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