Lifebit Publishes Data Federation Insights in ‘Frontiers in Genetics'

2 minute read
Hadley Sheppard, PhD

Hadley Sheppard, PhD

Lifebit is pleased to announce that our latest manuscript, “Democratizing clinical-genomic data: How federated platforms can promote benefits sharing in genomics”, has been published in Frontiers in Genetics. This research perspective summarises recent progress in establishing federated data platforms and highlights critical considerations for how they should be managed to improve representation in research, ultimately democratising the benefits for both researchers and patients.

With lowering sequencing costs, there has been a vast increase in the amount of genomic data available, but unfortunately much of it has been siloed and inaccessible due to its sensitive nature. In our perspective article, Lifebit highlights how federated data platforms are overcoming this challenge by enabling global collaboration. With federated technologies, researchers can be virtually linked to the data so that it never has to be physically moved or copied for access and analysis, enabling data custodians to effortlessly adhere to data governance and regulatory requirements.

Not only do federated data platforms enable secure collaboration in research; Lifebit also discusses how these platforms are improving representation of underrepresented populations in research by democratising access to diverse cohorts. Connecting distributed datasets via federation is enabling researchers to access larger and more diverse datasets, improving disease diagnostic capabilities for the greatest number of people.

In response to the publication, Lifebit CEO Dr. Maria Chatzou Dunford is quoted saying, “In this perspective article, we are thrilled to highlight advances in establishing federated data platforms and how they are transforming genomic research. Lifebit's technology is leading this area, and therefore we want to do our part to amplify the important triumphs, considerations and best practices for such efforts. Federated data platforms are promoting global data collaboration, accelerating research progress and ensuring that all data possible relating to disease is utilised - this will ultimately benefit the lives of patients.”

Finally, with Lifebit’s deep experience in genomics, federated technologies and establishing Trusted Research Environments for secure data access, we stress important considerations in establishing federated data platforms. These include considerations such as data harmonisation for easy integration across multiple data sources, platform scalability with increasing amounts of data, and also sustainability for long-term use of the platform despite the associated costs. Further, developing low/no-code analytical tools and integrating these within an end-to-end solution can empower researchers of diverse backgrounds (with and without data science experience), to rapidly progress their research, which will ultimately benefit patients. At Lifebit, we are proud to implement such best-practices in our work with valued clients including Genomics England, the Danish National Genome Centre, Boehringer Ingelheim, NIHR Cambridge BRC, and others.


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