Bioinformatics in Healthcare
You’re doing a massive puzzle with many tricky pieces that are mind-boggling because of all the different pieces it entails. We have the ability to match it up with its correct pair and make sure it clicks. We experiment day by day with what we can change to solve this puzzle, but it takes time to piece it all together. Like a puzzle, the field of bioinformatics also unravels many different sequences. Bioinformatics, as related to genetics and genomics, is a scientific subdiscipline that involves using computer technology to collect, store, analyze and disseminate biological data and information. This field benefits society in preventing certain risks and disorders the community may have. Bioinformatics especially plays a crucial role in healthcare in several ways.
First, over 13 million deaths occurred because of infectious diseases, one of the biggest reasons for death due to the lack of proper medications. The appropriate design for cheap and efficient drugs was designed through bioinformatics. Bioinformatics enables one to input data regarding certain medications to figure out their effects over a stimulation. Data such as genomic, epigenetic, genome architecture, cistromic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and ribosome profiling data have significantly contributed to mechanism-based drug discovery and drug repurposing. Such data indirectly positively impacts patients without even knowing. Being able to discover drugs through data just through a computer can change the lives of several individuals.
Second, each puzzle piece is unique to the other. They fit together for a reason because the pieces are not the same. That is why no puzzles are the same due to the versatility of the parts. Just like that, each person has a unique genetic makeup. A unique genetic makeup means each person has different needs when it comes to healthcare. A patient's genetic profile assists a doctor in having a personalized care plan because they need proper medications for their specific diseases. Bioinformatics, in this case, is used to analyze data from genome sequencing or microarray gene expression, which can help find any mutations to help come up with a prognosis. This ensures that a patient is getting the best treatment possible. Knowing a specific plan for someone’s body does guarantee promising results as opposed to a generic plan.
Third, along with having a personalized plan for each individual to ensure the best care possible, a care plan is also created for a collective group. There may be patterns of a particular disease in an area that require statistics, research, and bioinformatics to help prevent it. In order to develop such technology to allow for disease screening, researchers will use bioinformatics to analyze genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics data for possible disease biomarkers. A prime example of this type of preventative medicine is COVID-19. COVID-19 was a pandemic in which bioinformaticians were vital in acquiring the genome sequence and protein structure—doing so allowed for vaccine development and screening for COVID-19 in a short time. As seen through this example, bioinformatics is an essential job that has helped the world during this challenging time without us even knowing.
Fourth, just like each puzzle piece is specialized to interlock with the other, genes are specialized to be a sequence. When we find a puzzle piece that looks like it can link with the other and does not, we try to fit it in with the piece anyways. With bioinformatics, we can replace these parts to fix the puzzle. This is called gene therapy. Gene therapy relies on bioinformaticians to analyze these sequences and gathers research to fix these mutations effectively. If someone is diagnosed with cancer, the genetic sequence will be evaluated to see where the mutations lie. Once the mutations are found, bioinformaticians can replace these faulty genes with new ones to help cure a disease. Many diseases have been cured, which include cancers and diabetes. These diseases are life-threatening and to have a field where these mutations can be evaluated to see what steps need to be taken to prevent this disease is incredible. Building off of what we have now can only lead to more discoveries in the future.
Bioinformatics is a career in which computer science and biology are mashed together. There is not much exposure to this field, but unknowingly it has impacted the lives of many. Behind the scenes, bioinformaticians collect and analyze data to ensure that future generations' lives can improve. Just like a 1000-piece puzzle is yet to be connected, bioinformatics has so much left to be connected. Through this path, there is potential for experimenting with many new things, such as cloning organisms. Imagine cloning yourself and staring at it every morning knowing you made that. In essence, there are many puzzle pieces left to connect. Bioinformatics allows you to connect each part and still help our community. It plays a huge role in healthcare!