As part of a £50 million investment in radiography-based research, UK Biobank is scheduled to open a fourth imaging assessment centre this year.
A national and international resource open to health researchers, the charity's purpose is to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a range of life-threatening illnesses including cancer, dementia and osteoarthritis.
More than 33,000 participants have been imaged and the intention is to scan a total of 100,000 people by 2022.
The assessment of individuals includes:
Up to 18 participants a day are currently being scanned at imaging centres in Stockport, Newcastle upon Tyne and Reading. The Bristol centre is due to start scanning in the autumn.
Volunteers aged 40-69 years joined UK Biobank between 2006 and 2010. The study continues to follow their health and provides anonymised health data to approved researchers anywhere in the world undertaking research in the public good.
UK Biobank lead radiographer Stephen Hill said the study employs 50 radiographers across the country and is looking for more to join the team.
He says, “The imaging data are already being used by a wide range of researchers and results on the first 20,000 participants scanned have already been reported in journals.
“It is exciting to be at the cutting edge of research and to see how the data we collect will improve treatments.”
The Medical Research Council, Wellcome and the British Heart Foundation have funded the investment in radiography-based research.