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It’s all about the data

16th Jan 2013

Big Data is a Big Topic, fuelled by the impact of low cost genomic sequencing, adoption of electronic medical records and growth in personalized medicine approaches. From research to the clinic, translational medicine depends on properly integrated, managed and analyzed high quality data. This was the theme for the 4th annual IDBS Translational Medicine Symposium on Tuesday December 11th.

Held in central London at the prestigious Dorchester Hotel, nearly 90 attendees came to hear the latest news and developments in translational medicine in the UK. It was a packed day with eight speakers plus IDBS CEO Neil Kipling, contributing to a very focused discussion on what IDBS are doing to support this exciting field.

The announcement of a £100m DNA database provided the back drop to look at how capture, management and analysis of data and its context is critical to success in science. Sound familiar? Anyone who has worked with IDBS or has worked in life sciences knows that this is who we are. IDBS is about data. This is why data was selected as the theme of the event. Big Data is a hot topic and many groups are trying to make use of sparsely populated and poor quality patient records – something we know a lot about, and this came through strongly in the presentations.

Speaker highlights included:

  • Neil Kipling explained why IDBS is in the translational space and how this is a very personal crusade for him to make a difference to patient treatment and outcomes
  • Nick Craddock from the Wales National Center for Mental Health explained how IDBS is supporting a 6,000 person prospective study into mental disorders such as ADHD, Schizophrenia and Biopolar disorder
  • Jim McGurk from Daiichi Sankyo highlighted why even well populated clinical trials datasets are hard to integrate, and described an IDBS project to do just that across 17 clinical studies
  • Jon Green from the Health Protection Agency described how Next Generation Sequencing is used to analyze bacterial strain outbreaks, such as E.coli, and how he is looking forward to working with IDBS on this
  • Robin Munro presented our vision of how Big Data in healthcare can be managed, with a particular emphasis on how E-WorkBook can be used with genetic datasets to improve collaboration
  • Mike Barnes covered a long and challenging project at Bart’s Health that he has completed with IDBS to integrate clinical data sets in cardiovascular disease
  • Julie Barnes explained how the 200,000 person UKCTOX project on endometrial cancer has developed a great resource for biomarker development at Abcodia, which uses IDBS software for cohort analysis
  • Will Spooner from Eagle Genomics talked about end-to-end data management in Next Generation Sequencing
  • Yike Guo closed the day with his usual tour de force of Big Data in life sciences and described the E-TRIKS project

Finally, one of the most encouraging comments I heard was from a team at Imperial College. They observed how all the speakers discussed IDBS becoming a part of their project teams, part of the family in many ways, and shared that they got the impression we were a great company to work with because of our commitment to our customers success. This commitment to customer success comes from the top, from Neil Kipling, and makes IDBS who we are. This is what we stand for; excellence in data and in our people.