Rarer conditions targeted as research database expands

GP practice data will play a greater role in research into rare conditions, after the expansion of the general practice research database (GPRD), the MHRA has revealed.

Research into medicines used by small numbers of patients will grow (Photograph: Istock)
Research into medicines used by small numbers of patients will grow (Photograph: Istock)

The number of practices contributing to it has been increased by 25 per cent this year and it now links to a wider range of NHS databases, an MHRA spokeswoman said.

This wider reach will allow the database to be used for observational studies on rarer conditions as well as research on medicines used by small numbers of patients.

The GPRD now includes data from 593 practices. It also links to central mortality data, so that dates and causes of death can be ascertained, and to additional data on hospital admissions, down to ward level. It also now links to registries of cancer and MI, allowing more detailed disease-related studies, and long-term follow-up.

Developments are also now underway to allow the GPRD to move beyond retrospective and observational studies, the MHRA spokeswoman said.

'GPRD is now enabling interventional studies that include the collection of samples for genetic analysis in conjunction with GPRD's longitudinal and high quality data and the addition of patient reported outcomes,' she added.

'A further step forward relates to enabling the database to be used in "point of care" clinical trials that are a highly efficient and cost-effective way of undertaking a randomised study that may be required.'

Such randomisation allows researchers to remove confounding created by differences between patient groups that cannot be adjusted for in statistical analysis.

Two such studies, one on statins and another on antibiotic use in non-purulent COPD are close to starting, she said.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

BMA House entrance

GPs face pension tax penalties worth 'half their post-tax income'

Rapid swings in inflation could leave GPs facing pension tax penalties worth 'half...

Sign outside BMA House

BMA to demand significant pay rises to combat 15 years of real-term cuts

The BMA is set to demand significant pay rises for all doctors to undo over a decade...

UK police station

Reporting a crime in the practice – the confidentiality dilemma

With incidents of aggressive behaviour from patients on the rise, Dr Emma Green,...

Sign reading 'General Medical Council'

GMC backs reversal of GP suspension over laptop and admits tribunal error

The GMC has admitted a medical tribunal was wrong to suspend a Manchester GP for...

Dr Chaand Nagpaul

Government 'willfully shrinking workforce' and exploiting doctors' goodwill, warns Nagpaul

The government is exploiting doctors' goodwill while persistently failing to adopt...

Vaccination tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK have led the largest-ever NHS vaccination programme in response...