“Alvin Toffler, a writer and futurist of the mid 19th century, described in his book, ‘The Third Wave’ the concept of ‘waves’ to describe industrial revolution where each new wave of technology advancement replaces the old wave—pushing the older technologies aside”
This way the waves of technology revolution has also hit the magnanimous field of life sciences. Considering the first wave hit as the molecular biology contributions that were made in 1970s, continuing with the streak was the human genome project as the second wave of revolution in the 1990s, we are now at the ‘Third wave of revolution in life sciences’ – where in the inter-disciplinary approach of life sciences with physical sciences, mathematics, and engineering implicated that the early 21st century belongs to the life sciences technological revolution.
A brief backdrop
The origins of the life sciences date back to the ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Indian people, while the roots of modern biology considered as a relatively new development, stems from developments in ancient Greece. A major breakthrough in the industry has occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries when Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, the Dutch microscopist and scientist, refined and improved the microscope. By the early 1800s biologists were focusing their attention on the cell as the basic unit of an organism with the help of those microscopes. But it wasn’t until the mid 19th century that there was a remarkable wave of revolution with the ground-breaking discovery of the double helical structure of DNA, marking the beginning of the field of molecular genetics.
Scientific breakthroughs in the field of molecular genetics such as human genome sequencing opening up avenues for genomic research, genetic regulation and development of treatment options using miRNA and other gene-editing tools, improvements in high-throughput screening techniques for early diagnosis of difficult-to-treat diseases, are few examples representing the major knowledge additions to the ever changing advancements of the industry.
Accelerating the industry
The latest breakthroughs in the industry cater to changes in two ways; while one was to include technically advanced fields such as information technology, physical sciences and mathematics into their research pathway, the other was the development of new engineering tools, technologies and techniques that have helped in accelerating the research processes.
The increased expertise of industry in theoretical research coincides with a transformation in the nature of the research through the inter-disciplinary approach. The researchers and the industry are moving at a hard pace from an all exclusive approach to a more integrated science approach. There is a greater exchange of techniques and meshing of technologies in the industry than the past. It is evident that both the worlds of Information Technology and Life sciences have to undergo a lot of changes to evolve and to co-create the so-called integrated system, so that there is a standardization to the modern life sciences research.
Today, the advancements of these fields co-existence has opened new ways into the research side, by analysing the patterns of the past to determine the future. Designing patterns from the past data of life sciences research is how the scientists are creating value out of the millions of embedded documents of the field. Today, machines are learning to recognize patterns; using language models along with data analysis techniques such as machine learning, neural networks, etc. to add value to the life sciences data which can lead to major breakthroughs in the future.
The data that the scientists interpret come from a variety of technologies and sub-disciplines such as big data, data analytics, etc. which have come to light in the recent years. Examples of these data analytics are sequencing the DNA of human genomes or measuring the level of expression of genes in hundreds of tumours. Recent advances in technology mean that such data are a central part of modern biological research, be it medical, agricultural, or basic science.
InnoplexusTM, a consulting led technology firm, has developed a platform for Life Sciences research, iPlexusTM, which is transforming decision support in the Life sciences industry enabling you to reach the next level of research. It is an end to end platform for Life Sciences which leverages artificial intelligence to generate continuous intelligence and insights across discovery, clinical development, regulatory and commercial stages of drug development, spanning all major therapeutic areas and indications.
The platform has crawled, curated and indexed hundreds of terabytes of scientific data across hundreds of clinical trial databases, biological databases, congresses, theses, forums and regulatory bodies. It is The Intelligence MachineTM that provides the right direction for exploring this vast data universe and insight discovery.
By Jhansi Chitralekha
Senior Technical Writer @ Innoplexus