Technology in the Life Sciences Sector
The Life Sciences industry has undergone a period of vast change and unpredictability as the world came together to navigate through the pandemic. These past few years have brought to light the power and necessity of harnessing technology to support the continued advancement of life sciences. Forward thinking businesses understand that by utilising technology trends, they can develop new powers and abilities to predict and solve problems before they emerge. This can be applied to many aspects of the industry and be particularly instrumental in health and patient care.
Innovators within the life sciences industry are becoming increasingly aware of and utilising tech professionals with the required skills to join a MedTech company to facilitate the growth and development of products and services. Global pharmaceutical companies are offering tech professionals opportunities within the MedTech sector that are incomparable to those from other industries due to the continued exponential growth of the sector.
Companies within the life sciences sector generate huge amounts of complex data and will continue to integrate big data into their business solutions due to the benefits it offers. Big data helps life science companies assess risks and help prevent fatalities, reduce the spread of disease and infection, and increase life expectancy. As it is easier to notice trends and patterns in data, it becomes easier to create solutions before problems escalate.
Data contributes to the assessment and effectiveness of clinical trials as well as identifying success rates. It can also be utilised for real time monitoring which can improve safety and operational procedures, having a knock-on effect on the rest of the process.
Personalised medicine collects different types of data which are then processed and used to determine specific prevention and treatment plans for a patient. Genetic testing is one method that biopharmaceutical companies use to conduct research into what level of risk different diseases and conditions may be depending on genetic profiles. Targeted therapies are then able to be developed and the effectiveness of specific medicines for a person identified.
Within the pharmaceutical sector, research and development is a long and difficult process. It can take years and billions of pounds to develop and release a new drug into the market. Big data improves components of the research process such as identifying and approving potential drug candidates.
Data is also utilised from remote, wearable, and implantable devices that can monitor patient’s health and transmit information directly to a hospital or healthcare provider.
The life sciences sector is one of many to realise the benefits that blockchain technology can offer. One application of blockchain within the sector is that it provides the opportunity for medical records to be stored and operated securely, simultaneously protecting patient confidentiality and privacy whilst allowing doctors to access data. Private blockchain networks enable this by providing different permission and access layers for users.
Drug development and supply chain management also benefits from blockchain technology. Records of the manufacturing process as well as key ingredients can be provided which can help companies securely verify the provenance of a medicine to meet required regulations. This can be beneficial in reducing the number of counterfeit drugs in circulation by accurately monitoring pharmaceutical products.
Blockchain technology also has applications in the collection of clinical trial data. As it is extremely difficult for data to be edited once added to the blockchain, researchers are unable to change their hypothesis or data resulting in less false-positives. Blockchain also enables researchers to gather data and medical information in real time from patients by utilising wearable technologies. This in turn has significant benefits for patients, and can be used to accurately identify future risks, or potential conditions.
Artificial Intelligence refers to the science of developing computer programmes and technologies that simulate human-like levels of intelligence to perform complex tasks. AI tools allow for vast amounts of data to be analysed and comprehended in an efficient manner, which undoubtedly has applications in the life sciences industry.
Robotic surgery is a development that allows surgeries to be performed consistently and accurately in previously inaccessible places by the da Vinci robot. It is said to be superior to human performance as it won’t decline with time, being able to remain consistent and accurate for longer durations.
AI can also be utilised in disease diagnosis and radiology tools. An AI chatbot ‘Buoy Health’ listens to patient’s symptoms and health issues and guides them to the correct therapy needed. There are AI platforms that can scan medical imagery and identify any diseases and conditions present, and AI based radiology tools that can perform diagnostic processing virtually rather than using invasive techniques. An AI system that can diagnose dementia after a brain scan has been developed by scientists and researchers from The Alan Turing Institute and Cambridge.
The drug discovery and manufacturing process is very time consuming and expensive, which can be helped by AI technologies. When it comes to big data, AI tools are able to scan, organise and understand large sets of data resulting in more efficiency and accuracy in the drug development process. This can also be applied to clinical trials, having artificial intelligence contribute to the design and implementation of clinical trials can return multiple benefits such as being more cost effective and accurate.
There is huge potential for the future growth and development of the life sciences sector with technology having the ability to facilitate that. Awareness of advances in technology throughout the life sciences industry will lead to new job roles and opportunities in the future which can help deliver life-changing innovations and implementations of emerging technologies.
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