Cloud-computing and precision medicine: Big data offers big opportunities

Research on large shared medical datasets and data-driven research are gaining fast momentum and provide major opportunities for improving health systems as well as individual care. Such Open Data can shed light on the causes of disease and effects of treatment including adverse reactions side-effects of treatments, while also facilitating analyses tailored to an individual’s characteristics, known as personalized or precision medicine.

Precision medicine treatments will take personalization to the next level and be effective for individual patients based on their genomic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. High-throughput sequencing technologies and open databases have made precision medicine possible but up to now only large research centres could handle the large scale technology needed for its processing. Aside from issues such as user trust, data privacy, transparency over the control of data ownership, and the implications of data analytics for personal privacy with potentially intrusive inferences, recent advances by Berkeley using open source Big Data technologies and Cloud Computing Services has allowed precision medicine studies to be conducted by small and agile research labs and researchers around the world.