Over 30 million people in Europe suffer from cardiovascular diseases. Despite major progress in treatments, the consequences for patients remain significant. UMC Utrecht's Cardiovascular Center received, together with other institutions, a €20 million grant from the European Innovative Medicines Initiative for further research in this field.

The study, which goes by the name of BigData@Heart, will collect data through a number of approaches, in order to develop better, customized treatments. Today, data is collected from research studies people have been asked to participate in beforehand. This excludes data from patients who do not partake in a study, for example, if they are very ill. BigData@Heart will, anonymously or with consent, be combining data collected from daily care with data from studies, and thus create a more realistic picture.

Furthermore, the researchers will be seeking to develop a more personalized care package by examining each patient as to the cause of their heart or vascular disease. This will help doctors to better determine the type of the patient's disease and accordingly select the best treatment. Finally, the researchers will use activity monitors (wearables) to acquire more information about patients' lifestyles and health in order to subsequently improve them.

Rick Grobbee, professor of clinical epidemiology and Folkert Asselbergs, professor of cardiovascular genetics, are thrilled with the grant: "BigData@Heart brings together the strongest research groups in Europe and has a tremendous amount of new information and knowledge at its disposal about the use and analysis of big data."

BigData@Heart is headed by UMC Utrecht and is a cooperation between the European Society of Cardiology, European patient organizations, universities from Berlin, London, Cambridge, Valencia, Stockholm, Hamburg, Birmingham and Uppsala and various companies.