Genomics the Next Leap Forward in Healthcare
There is a growing demand from consumers to gain access to more personalised health information. That provide insights into their predisposition to diseases, guidelines into diet based on nutrigenomics, and their culturally specific needs.
As consumers connect, food choices, the environment and their genetics to health. A number of movements such as the Wellness, the Quantified-Self and the Bio-Citizen are converging around genomics.
The internet and mobile technology is making anytime, anywhere, anyplace, health, a reality. Consumers can book yoga classes online, order recipe boxes, and track health goals with mobile healthcare apps, and wearables like fitbit.
Now the medical community have entered the fray. Healthcare is one of the most heavily regulated industries. However, there is enormous opportunity to innovate leveraging healthcare intelligence derived from big data.
Healthcare professionals across the world are analysing, the genetic make-up, and lifestyles of patients at a personal and population level. Though aggregated clusters of hundreds, or even tens of thousands of patients.
This data is in the process of being transformed into useful information through the use of a variety of healthcare analytics, public health analytics, patient profile analytics, and genomic analytics.
To support early disease detection, the creation of personalised medicine, device and remote monitoring, clinical trials, and the identification of high cost patients, to address their needs in an expeditious and targeted fashion.
Big data in healthcare refers to the manipulation of electronic healthcare data sets so large and complex. The management and interpretation of the data is nearly impossible using traditional software and hardware.
The global genomics market is projected to be worth US$141.70billion in 2026 according to BIS research. It is segmented into diagnostics, drug discovery and development, personalised medicine, agriculture, animal husbandry, biofuels and marine research.
Genomics is a branch of healthcare, concerned with the study of genes and their inter-relationship. In order to understand their combined influence on the growth and development of organisms.
Before the arrival of genomic sequencing technologies. There was no real need to organise biological data such as:
- Sequences of DNA, RNA and proteins
- Structures of Biological Molecules
- Biochemical Pathways
- Gene Expression Profiles
- Phylogenetic Data
- Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP’s)
- Chromosomal Mapping
Into databases because this information was relatively scare. However, with the arrival of gene sequencing technologies in 1990. The amount of biological data grew exponentially. This would have a profound effect on the future of healthcare.
Since January 2008, the speed of DNA sequencing surpassed Moore’s Law. Due to advances in gene sequencing technologies. Consequently, biologists were inundated with a tsunami of data. Leading to the establishment of hundreds of generic and niche databases in healthcare.
Bioinformatics, the fusion of biology and computer science. Arose out of the changes occuring within the healthcare industry. Essentially, it’s the combination of the infrastructure of computer technology with the power of gene sequencing technologies. To store, curate, retrieve, and analyse biological data.
Genomic analytics deploys gene sequencing technologies to analyse genomic data. To uncover patterns, unknown correlations and other insights, through examining large-scale data sets. On big data infrastructure.
The ability to sequence the genetic code of a large sample of the population. Provides the opportunity to clinically identify genetic variants in DNA, for personalised diagnosis and therapy. This is how medicine, may be deployed for self-surveillance and personalised treatment.
The completion of the genetic sequence of an individuals’ human genome. Enables the identification of mutations which are specific to a person.
The information obtained from the ongoing genomic programmes may result in positive spill over effects. In other non-invasive medical domains such as nutrigenetics. A medical discipline that investigates the response to diet depending on the genotype of an individual. It is now accepted that diet is a contributor to certain common diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type2 diabetes and cancer.