Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

MAY15 2017

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) is the world's most widely read biotech publication. It provides the R&D community with critical information on the tools, technologies, and trends that drive the biotech industry.

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Lisa Heiden, Ph.D. Pity the genomic scientist who specializes in biomarker development, a discipline that is still being built around next-generation sequencing (NGS). This new disci- pline, which could be called next-generation molecular diagnostic assay validation, is currently grappling with a range of challenges: biospecimens that are rare and of uncertain quality, analytes that are present in scant quantities, and sample preparation guidelines and data handling conventions that are still in flux. In hopes of laying a firm foundation on these shift- ing sands, genomic scientists gathered at the fourth annual Genomic Sample Prep, Biomarker Assay Development Biomarker Validation for Genomic Assays It is about to become more systematic, however, now that powerful biodata tools and techniques are becom- ing more widely available. The challenge now is to sift through the fast-accu- mulating petabytes of biodata, extracting the 24-karat nuggets while filtering out the fool's gold. Going for- ward, ambitious data mining efforts are bound to en- rich drug development in areas such as target identifi- cation and clinical trial design. Data mining will also demonstrate clinical value, from diagnostics to patient stratification to the prediction of patient responses to therapeutic interventions. At the genomics capital of the world, San Diego, bioinformaticians, biostatisticians, CEOs, and data scientists gathered to discuss and present innovations in biological data management at the second annual Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) Data Analysis & Informatics Conference. The conference expanded be- yond issues of NGS data management to address gen- eral challenges in Big Biodata processing. Machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud processing were themes at the event, which kept a tight focus on the field of cancer genomics. The early link between cancer and genomic aberrations has re- sulted in a glut of omics studies stored as discrete data- sets or collected into inconvenient databases. Several years ago, Pfizer found that there was a need see page 14 Kristen Slawinski, Ph.D. Biodata gold is all around us, but it is hard to find, distributed as it is in traces throughout a vast biodata landscape, one that has scarcely been explored properly, even as it continues to be reshaped by next-generation sequencing, the effects of which are, well, tectonic. Thus far, biodata prospecting has been limited to isolated deposits, to independent claims staked here and there. Machines Learn to Sift Big Biodata May 15, 2017 Kevin Davies, Ph.D. Joins Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 4 Automatic Piston Discharge Pushes Ahead 24 Liquid Biopsies Remain Wait and See For Some Clinicians 26 see page 8 Meghaan M. Ferreira, Ph.D. The cell has a language all its own, one that ultimately rests on a small alphabet of nucleotides, the iconic A, T, C, and G. Somehow, this small alphabet, in accor- dance with the genetic code, gives rise to a slightly larg- er alphabet of amino acids, the molecules that combine to form all of the proteins that make up the human proteome. Moreover, this molecular language, like any lan- guage, has additional layers of complexity. Whereas statements in an ordinary language are often articulated or constructed Interpreting the Language of Proteins see page 18 Leading the Way in Life Science Technologies As more relevant connections are made among biological data, more meaningful conclusions can be drawn to drive drug discovery and development. baranozdemir/Getty Images A scientist at Bio-Rad Laboratories engaged in antibody validation via high-throughput Western blotting.

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