A major new health imaging study, the largest of its kind in the world, has been launched by the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation.
£43 million will be invested in the new project, which will create a massive collection of images of the brain, heart, bones, carotid arteries and abdominal fat, to bring huge improvements to the way major diseases are studied.
100,000 current participants of UK Biobank, a project set-up by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust a decade ago, will make up the sample.
The scans will be analysed alongside the data already collected from the half a million participants of UK Biobank, providing new data and insights into the way diseases such as arthritis, coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis could be treated in the future.
The project also aims to explore new innovative ways to interpret images with benefits expected from both a research and clinical perspective.
The full range of images will include:
Cathie Sudlow, Professor of Neurology and Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, and UK Biobank’s Chief Scientist, said: “This very large number of participants involved in the multimodal imaging study is impressive enough.
“But what makes it truly transformational is the opportunity to combine the rich imaging data with the wealth of other information already available or being collected from participants, particularly their health and diseases during follow-up for many years to come.”
Dr Sara Marshall, Head of Clinical Research at the Wellcome Trust, said: “Capturing such a vast number of images of the human body, in both health and illness, will chronicle disease in a way never attempted before.
“Each day we’re discovering more and more about how genetics and lifestyle play a part in the onset and development of diseases, but this extra piece of the puzzle – seeing physical changes even before symptoms develop – will give us a completely new perspective on how we can prevent and treat them.”
Click here to read more about the project.