Using Genomic Data to Deliver Precision Stroke Treatment in Tayside

21 July 2020

The University of Dundee, in collaboration with NHS Tayside, has been awarded £100,000 by The Data Lab, Scotland’s innovation centre for data and AI, to develop a new precision medicine care pathway for stroke patients with support from Storm ID, developers of the Lenus Digital Health Platform.

Every year, 15,000 people in Scotland have a stroke. This accounts for 5% budget and 7% of beds in the NHS. There is good evidence that widely used first-line medication (clopidogrel) does not work optimally in about 25% of patients who remain at increased risk of a further stroke compared with patients in whom the medication works normally. While possible to identify these patients with a simple genetic test and offer alternative treatment this does not happen routinely in the NHS.

At the same time, very large amounts of information are constantly being accumulated on patients who use the NHS. Improving use of this information to directly improve individual patient care is a major goal for the NHS. This requires getting the right kind of information about the patient to the right healthcare professional, at the right time, so that the right decisions about treatment can be made.

Many people across Scotland have joined SHARE (The Scottish Health Register) and have consented to allow researchers to use left-over blood following routine clinical testing for approved research. This blood is used to obtain large amounts of genetic information about the individual. This information is used for research to understand how genetic differences between patients can be used to personalise healthcare. In a growing number of clinical situations it is already known that such information can be used to choose the most appropriate treatment following a stroke.

The 2 year project seeks to identify how available genetic information can be used to ensure stroke patients receive the most appropriate drug quickly to prevent further strokes, reduce re-admission rates, support long-term rehabilitation and save lives.

The project will build on existing workstreams including work undertaken by the University of Dundee and NHS Tayside on the existing stroke information system. Storm ID will collaborate with the Health Informatics Centre on data interoperability, identifying how Storm ID’s Lenus Digital Health and Care Platform can enable secure, data exchange and deliver clinician support.

Craig Turpie, Director, Storm ID:
We’re excited about this highly collaborative project and hope to illustrate the value of enabling new types of digital health services that make use of genomic and other patient data to improve treatment. This stroke project will serve as an encouragement to look at broader potential in harnessing genomic and other patient healthcare data to deliver on the potential of precision medicine across a range of other conditions too.

Dr Alex Doney, Academic Lead, University of Dundee, said:
Making use of information in a patient’s genes to maximise the benefit and minimise the potential harm of the medicines they get prescribed has been an exciting area of clinical research for a number of years. Through a long and close partnership between the University of Dundee and NHS Tayside we are able to take the first steps toward translating this research into everyday clinical practice in the NHS to enable a more personalised approach to medical therapy. I would like to acknowledge all people in Scotland who have signed up to SHARE who have helped make this initiative possible.

Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab, said:
Those that have experienced a stroke, whether it be first-hand, family member or friend, it can be a traumatic and long-lasting experience. To know that current medication only reduces the risk for some patients where others are left with an increased risk of another, can be life-altering.

The funding The Data Lab has provided to Storm ID and the University of Dundee will progress the project and find a treatment suitable to individuals where they can lead a worry-free life. We look forward to following the project as it develops.


Storm ID is a digital transformation consultancy with a track record of delivery in healthcare and wider public sector. It developed the Lenus Digital Health Platform to support new models of care that combine remote monitoring of patients with machine assisted decision support.

The Data Lab is Scotland’s innovation centre for data and AI. Through hubs in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness, we foster innovation through collaboration, build skills and grow talent, and champion Scotland’s data science community. We help Scotland maximise value from data and lead the world to a data-powered future.

The Innovation Centres, which were launched in 2014 and in the latter part of 2013, sit within the construction industry, oil and gas, stratified medicine, digital health, industrial bio-tech, and sensors and imaging. Each Centre aims to establish bonds between Scotland’s universities and their respective industry sectors, translating the knowledge and expertise into commercially viable products and companies to benefit the country’s economy.




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