C-DAC Tailor-made medicine, vision for the future

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‘Tailor-made medicine, vision for the future’

The Indian Express
February 21, 2013

Customised medicine is our vision of the future," said PK Sinha, Programme Coordinator of High Performance Computing and Communication (HPCC) Group at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).

Addressing the inaugural function of a 3-day symposium on 'Accelerating Biology 2013' at the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (Yashada) on Wednesday, Sinha described how medicines can be made more effective if they are tailor-made for individuals keeping their genomic structure in view. (The genomic structure defines how a particular protein, the building blocks of the body, would shape up.)

"Today, the world of medicine works on the principle of average. Almost all those who suffer from cold and cough get the same medicine. Hence efficiency is low. Our vision is to make technology that helps in making customised medicine for people," said Sinha.

"Every individual has a unique genomic structure. This genomic structure will be mapped and carried on a smart card. This smart card will be read by a card reader at the doctor's end. The doctor will decide what medicine to give as per the genomic structure. The medicine will be more effective and the number of days to treat a disease will be reduced this way," added Sinha.

The other areas the C-DAC will focus on in future are use of computational biology for early detection of cancer and increasing agricultural yield.

"Cancer deaths can be prevented in a major way if there is early detection of cancer cells. We are working in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), USA and Tata Memorial Hospital to use computational data in early cancer detection," said Sinha.

"We are planning to make virtual humans for clinical trials. The humans will be computer simulated and drugs can be used on them to check the effectiveness. Currently all this is just a vision. It will take time to actually come up with such system," added Sinha.

"There is a sea of data coming up but efficient data processing, transmitting and storage are major challenges," said Dr GV Ramaraju, Group Coordinator, Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY). He emphasised the need of bringing results of research into Bioinformatics to the ground level.

"The research should be application-based and useful for society, and should yield definite results," said Ramaraju. He also talked of the need to increase India's collaboration with foreign countries to further research in science.

The primary objective of the symposium is to seek to address current and emerging challenges in genome sequencing, genome analysis, comparative genomics, molecular modelling, algorithm development and systems biology.

Dr George Komatsoulis, Director, Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology (CBIIT), NCI, USA was chief guest. Rajat Moona, Director General, C-DAC, Dr Hemant Darbari, Executive Director, C-DAC and Dr Rajendra Joshi, Associate Director & HoD, Bioinformatics, C-DAC were also present.