The new resource, funded by the charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, will store cancer cell samples and anonymous medical records of patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma blood cancers in the Yorkshire region, allowing doctors access to richly detailed information about similar previous patients when treating new cases.
It is a world-leading example of the use of "big data" to improve outcomes for patients and a breakthrough for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which relies on tailoring interventions closely to particular patients.
David Westhead, Professor of Bioinformatics at the University of Leeds, said: "It is increasingly clear that cancer in general and lymphoma in particular is a highly variable disease. Individuals previously diagnosed in the same broad categories may have diseases that are quite different when you look at the fundamental biology of their cancers. This database enables us to take a step towards more individualised treatment."
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is diagnosed in about 10,000 people a year in the UK, making it the sixth most common form of cancer, and normally appears as a solid tumour in glands called lymph nodes.
One of the key challenges in treating it is its diversity. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can be divided into up to 40 different diseases, each of which is treated differently. Even within these subcategories, there can be very significant differences between individual patients, with different genetic faults in an individual's lymphoma cells dictating whether certain drugs will be effective or not.
The database and data mining techniques developed by researchers at the University of Leeds' Faculty of Biological Sciences are expected revolutionise treatment.
Doctors will be able to cast aside traditional disease categories, which were defined when scientists couldn't look at cells at a molecular level, and search the database for previous patients whose lymphoma has similarities at a biological level to newly diagnosed patients.
Knowing which of the various possible treatments were most successful in similar patients in the past will help guide treatment for current patients.
Professor Westhead said: "It is very important that what we learn from treating lymphoma patients can be used in the future. We believe this new approach will improve on the current practice of assigning patients to rigid disease categories that in reality are overlapping."
Dr Matt Kaiser, Head of Research at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, which is providing £250,000 to support the project, said: "We already know that lymphomas are highly variable in their prognosis and response to standard treatments. By intelligently linking the patient's biology with clinical outcome, future patients will benefit from smarter diagnosis, more accurate prognosis and a more tailored treatment course. This is a pioneering approach that may have ramifications for how we view and treat all cancers."
Ralf Richter, David Brockwell, Eric Hewitt, Jessica Kwok, Emanuele Paci and MAPS/FMH, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £600,000
Eric Blair, Adrian Whitehouse, Nicola Stonehouse, Alison Baker, Richard Bayliss, Joan Boyes, Ryan Seipke, Sally Boxall and MAPS/FMH, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £376,000
Stefan Kepinski, Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso, Tom Bennett, Michelle Peckham, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £331,000
Roman Tuma, Lars Jeuken, Paul Millner, Sheena Radford, Peter Stockley and MAPS/FMH, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £222,000
Vas Ponnambalam, Darren Tomlinson, Stephen Wheatcroft, BHF (May 2017), £107,878
Graham Askew in collaboration with Bangor University, BBSRC (Mar 2017), £477,383
Stephen Muench, BBSRC (Mar 2017), £132,945
Nic Stonehouse, MRC (Mar 2017), £906,341
Bill Kunin, Steve Sait, BBSRC (Mar 2017), £602,831
Adrian Goldman, EU (Mar 2017), £546,576
Sheena Radford, Wellcome Trust (Mar 2017), £1,836,482
Beatrice Filippi, Royal Society (Mar 2017), £15,000
Jamie Johnston, Royal Society (Mar 2017), £15,000
Tom Bennett, Royal Society (Mar 2017), £15,000
Ryan Seipke, BBSRC (Feb 2017), £52,116
Mary O'Connell, BBSRC (Feb 2017), £46,986
Hannah Dugdale, NERC (Feb 2017), £504,138
Anastasia Zhuravleva, EPSRC (Jan 2017), £100,792
Richard Bayliss, Cancer Research UK (Jan 2017), £1,600,000
John Barr, EU (Jan 2017), £339,000
Mark Harris, Royal Society (Jan 2017), £250,000
Alison Dunn, NERC (Jan 2017), £105,000
Alex Breeze, Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (Jan 2017), £180,000
Alison Dunn, NERC (Dec 2016), £18,000
Lisa Collins, BBSRC (Dec 2016), £1,681,835
Brendan Davies, Leverhulme Trust (Dec 2016), £247,555
Alan Benson, Mark Drinkhill, Ed White, British Heart Foundaion (Dec 2016), £217,223
Adrian Goldman, Royal Society (Dec 2016), £82,999
Lisa Roberts, Alex Breeze, Brendan Davies, Timothy Devinney, Oliver Harlen, Joseph Holden, Anthea Hucklesby, Pamela Jones, Philip Mellor, RCUK (Nov 2016), £484,172
Lisa Roberts, Alex Breeze, Brendan Davies, Timothy Devinney, Oliver Harlen, Joseph Holden, Anthea Hucklesby, Pamela Jones, Philip Mellor, Wellcome Trust (Nov 2016), £119,343
Katie Field, Rank Prize Funds (Nov 2016), £20,000
Jessica Kwok, Royal Society (Nov 2016), £14,948
John Ladbury, Cancer Research UK (Oct 2016), £4,250
Miriam Wittmann, Martin Stacey, Edward Vital, Lupus UK
(Oct 2016), £34,010
Valerie Speirs, NC3Rs
(Oct 2016), £90,000
Nicola Stonehouse, Morgan Herod, David Rowlands, BBSRC
(Sep 2016), £436,424
Joseph Cockburn, Wellcome Trust
(Sep 2016), £100,000
John Barr, Public Health England
(Sep 2016), £94,471
Helen Miller, DSM Nutritional Products A/S
(Sep 2016), £54,680
Steven Clapcote, Vitaflo International Ltd
(Sep 2016), £39,285
Juan Fontana Jordan De Urries
, Royal Society
(Sep 2016), £21,793
Jing Li, Sarah Calaghan, Mark Drinkhill, British Heart Foundation
(Sep 2016), £117,585
Sheena Radford, Alison Ashcroft, BBSRC (Sep 2016), £457,216
Patricija Van Oosten-Hawle, An-Jung Chen, David Westhead, NC3Rs
(Sep 2016), £354,456
Glyn Hemsworth, BBSRC (Sep 2016), £1,024,034