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How bioinformatics influences health informatics: usage of biomolecular sequences, expression profiles and automated microscopic image analyses for clinical needs and public health



How bioinformatics influences health informatics: usage of biomolecular sequences, expression profiles and automated microscopic image analyses for clinical needs and public health



Health Information Science and Systems 1: 2



The currently hyped expectation of personalized medicine is often associated with just achieving the information technology led integration of biomolecular sequencing, expression and histopathological bioimaging data with clinical records at the individual patients' level as if the significant biomedical conclusions would be its more or less mandatory result. It remains a sad fact that many, if not most biomolecular mechanisms that translate the human genomic information into phenotypes are not known and, thus, most of the molecular and cellular data cannot be interpreted in terms of biomedically relevant conclusions. Whereas the historical trend will certainly be into the general direction of personalized diagnostics and cures, the temperate view suggests that biomedical applications that rely either on the comparison of biomolecular sequences and/or on the already known biomolecular mechanisms have much greater chances to enter clinical practice soon. In addition to considering the general trends, we exemplarily review advances in the area of cancer biomarker discovery, in the clinically relevant characterization of patient-specific viral and bacterial pathogens (with emphasis on drug selection for influenza and enterohemorrhagic E. coli) as well as progress in the automated assessment of histopathological images. As molecular and cellular data analysis will become instrumental for achieving desirable clinical outcomes, the role of bioinformatics and computational biology approaches will dramatically grow. With DNA sequencing and computers becoming increasingly cheap and accessible to the layman, the idea of integrating biomolecular and clinical patient data seems to become a realistic, short-term option that will lead to patient-specific diagnostics and treatment design for many diseases such as cancer, metabolic disorders, inherited conditions, etc. These hyped expectations will fail since many, if not most biomolecular mechanisms that translate the human genomic information into phenotypes are not known yet and, thus, most of the molecular and cellular data collected will not lead to biomedically relevant conclusions. At the same time, less spectacular biomedical applications based on biomolecular sequence comparison and/or known biomolecular mechanisms have the potential to unfold enormous potential for healthcare and public health. Since the analysis of heterogeneous biomolecular data in context with clinical data will be increasingly critical, the role of bioinformatics and computational biology will grow correspondingly in this process.

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Accession: 058010318

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PMID: 25825654

DOI: 10.1186/2047-2501-1-2


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