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Accelerating Detection of Disease

The Accelerating Detection of Disease challenge represents a pioneering programme to recruit 5 million healthy volunteers into a research study that aims to invent new ways to detect and prevent the development of diseases.

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Accelerating Detection of Disease

What is the Accelerating Detection of Disease (ADD) challenge?

For most chronic disorders, the disease process starts many years before symptoms present and in many cases the disease is not detected until much later when it is likely to be more difficult to treat and survival rates are much lower. For example, 90% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer at an early stage survive their disease for at least 5 years compared to just 5% for those diagnosed at a late stage.

This has a significant impact on health systems, which are facing an increasing burden in treating late stage chronic disease. By using AI and data, we can accelerate research in early diagnosis, leading to better prevention and treatment of disease.

The challenge will establish a 5-million strong volunteer cohort enabling us to support research intended to improve the early detection, and thereby the prevention or early intervention, of chronic diseases in individuals, before any symptoms present.

The pioneering programme is unparalleled - in the UK and globally - in its attempt to tackle the challenge of early diagnosis of major chronic illness in an entire population.

The challenge will:

  • Develop a major new national resource that will support new AI approaches to early diagnosis and biomarker discovery, and enable the development, testing, and validation of new diagnostic tools at scale
  • Create a cohort that will serve as an enduring national resource and a platform for new R&D in the UK

What’s the investment?

The ADD programme is funded by £79 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which is expected to be matched by funding of up to £160 million from industry. 

What are the opportunities?

The study aims to enrol up to 1 million individuals from across the UK, who will consent to both providing initial biological samples and basic health related data, as well as to being re-contacted for more intensive and novel diagnostics, particularly if they are within a high-risk subpopulation.

In addition, a further 4 million individuals will be enrolled as a digital cohort, through which basic health related data will be captured. With consent, participants will provide data over many years, which will be linked to NHS and other health-related records.

The programme will seek active engagement with participants by providing them with feedback to help manage their own risk and enable opportunities for early intervention.