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QResearch – a not-for-profit partnership between UK IT supplier EMISand the University of Nottingham – is supporting the first large scaleEurope-wide initiative to detect adverse drug reactions (ADRs) – theALERT project.
The QResearch database, which houses anonymiseddata from around 10 million UK patients, is the largest and mostrapidly updated database taking part in the project, which hasreceived €5 million funding from the European Community’s SeventhFramework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under a grant agreement.
Therecently-approved ALERT project aims to develop the first Europe-widecomputerised system to detect ADRs better and faster than the currentspontaneous reporting systems. The initial research phase is planned tospan 3.5 years.
The project will involve a consortium of18 leading European research institutions using clinical data from theelectronic healthcare records (EHRs) of more than 30 million patientsfrom European countries including The Netherlands, Denmark, UK andItaly.
The interdisciplinary team of researchers willuse biomedical informatics technologies to do this, combined withbiological and molecular knowledge.
ALERT will use avariety of text mining, epidemiological and other computationaltechniques to analyse the EHRs to detect “signals’ (combinations ofdrugs and suspected adverse events that warrant further investigation).
QResearchproject leader, Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox of the University ofNottingham said: “ALERT will, for the first time, design, develop andset up a process for monitoring adverse drug reactions for asignificant proportion of the European population.
“We hopethat the project will demonstrate that scientific and clinical evidencecan quickly and directly be translated into improvements in patientsafety and therefore health benefits. It will also enable us to comparehow different people respond to a variety of drugs throughout Europe.
“Anotherbenefit of the research will mean that we should be able todiscriminate between true signals that point to an ADR and spurioussignals. This can help to reduce uncertainty among both patients andphysicians, ultimately saving lives and increasing the quality ofday-to-day life for many patients.”