Complex diseases get the big data treatment
by Gary Finnegan
The big data explosion, which allows scientists to analyse factors such as people’s lifestyles, genes and medical records to develop personalised treatments for conditions, has so far mostly benefitted rare diseases with simple causes. But now, complex problems such as cardiovascular disease and dementia are getting the big data treatment.
Dr Maureen Cronin, a consultant on global medical affairs at Swiss company Vifor Pharma and co-lead of the BigData @ Heart project, says human genomics – the study of our genes – has transformed some areas of healthcare over the past decade, but heart health has been slow to benefit.
‘Advances in omics (the study of entire systems) have changed how we think about disease but have not been fully embraced in cardiovascular disease,’ said Dr Cronin. ‘If you look to oncology and rare diseases, there has been much greater progress.’
About Horizon: Horizon is the science and innovation magazine from the European Union.