As technology advances, so do opportunities to track, monitor and treat health conditions in an efficient and targeted way. This is especially the case with the use of robotics in genomic medicine, a new and growing field that will revolutionize personalized medicine.
Clinical genomics is changing the way patients are diagnosed and treated. The automated processes involved are increasing accuracy and reducing the length of time required for a full analysis of a patient’s specific genetic information.
What Is Genomics?
Genomics is a molecular biology specialty that focuses on genome function, structure, evolution, editing, and mapping. This biotechnology fuses genetics and biology to identify the complete genome of patients in a clinical setting.
A patient’s genome is their complete set of DNA. The DNA sequencing of the patient’s gene sets and extensive genetic mapping is organized in databases. This data can then be used for better diagnosing and treating a patient.
What Is Genomic Medicine?
Genomic medicine is a new and quickly developing medical sector involving the use of a patient’s genomic information as part of their care. In this medical discipline, an individual’s genes are mapped out for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
Genomic DNA analysis provides a better foundation for care because of its specificity. When used for diagnosing patients, clinicians can get a thorough, clear picture of their conditions. This eliminates the need for empirical treatment.
Empirical treatment is a clinical approach that uses the physician’s experience to make an educated guess. This can be inaccurate and costly with poor results that require frequent therapy adjustment. Genomic medicine provides specific information, reducing diagnostic time and cost.
Important Applications of Genomic Medicine
The use of genomics is only in the beginning stages, but it’s quickly proving to be a vast source of clinically relevant information. Already, there are several applications of this gene-sequencing technology that have shown value.
Quicker Genetic Diagnosis
Genome sequencing shortens the time in between genetic disease symptom onset and a correct diagnosis. What may have taken months or years previously takes only days. A correct diagnosis based on a patient’s unique genome improves care precision and treatment outcomes.
Prenatal testing gives expecting parents a peek into the genetic wellbeing of their developing child. While prenatal genetic testing has been available for a long time, genomics advancements have made the process far less invasive.
Prenatal genetic testing used to require the extraction of fetal cells through a large needle inserted through the uterus and into the amniotic fluid. More precise automated DNA sequencing technology allows for detection and analysis using only small amounts of fetal DNA that is present in a blood sample from the pregnant mother.
Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
Understanding the genetic background of certain cancers allows for targeted therapy. In the future, DNA sequencing will provide more insight into the underlying genetic mutations that initiate certain cancers.
This can help physicians better predict the disease process for a patient. More personalized treatments based on genetic insight may lead to more favourable outcomes.
Genome sequencing can also give doctors a heads-up when deciding how to treat a patient. Genetic features alert doctors to allergic reactions to certain pharmaceuticals. They also determine whether a drug would be effective for a patient.
Robotics and Genomic Medicine
Genomics in its infancy was a very lengthy, time-consuming process. It required precision, data tracking, and hours of work. Robotics automate many of the processes of genetic mapping and DNA sequencing. This provides greater accuracy and expedites the diagnosis.
The first human genome sequencing project took over a decade to complete and cost millions. Thanks to automated processes, sequencing can now be done in a matter of days and costs can be limited to around a thousand dollars per patient. Genome sequencing and its use in the treatment of diseases may be the greatest medical achievement of the past hundred years.
Robotics elevates these advancements in genomics, bringing it out of the research realm and making it accessible to medical professionals.
The Benefits of Automated Genomic Processes
Robotics in genomic medicine offer three crucial benefits. Each of these makes commercial availability of genome sequencing and personalized medicine possible.
Automated genomic instruments offer precision motion, which is critical in the DNA sequencing process. These stable instruments continuously and accurately inject DNA batches into gel tanks within genomic sequencers and apply negative charges to the gel. This saves countless hours of time and work, as manual labour is minimized.
Most automated sequencing instruments run on their own with minimal operator intervention. This reduces costs and increases the amount of sequencing that is performed. Increasing capacity only requires the addition of another instrument.
These instruments must also adhere to proven design so that time isn’t wasted by a malfunction.
Interpretation, Storage, and Use of Results
Automated DNA sequencing in personalized medicine results in massive amounts of data that must be processed, stored and organized efficiently. This volume of data can’t be handled by a simple desktop computer.
Big Data capabilities allow for high-performance computing environments that process, manage, and display huge data sets produced by automated genomic systems. Meaningful and extensive biological data can then be accessed and used by doctors to provide individualized care for patients.
Genomic Health Care
Genomics is changing the ecosystem of healthcare establishments today. Physicians and other health professionals must work closely with developers and IT team members. With the use of robotics for large scale genomics, software and technology employees will play a crucial role in the clinical environment.
Automated Genomic Medicine for Personalized Care
The future of genomic medicine is changing drastically. Many advancements in the approach to diagnosis and treatment of disease stem from the ability to access patients’ genetic information in a quicker and more affordable way. Accessibility and commercialization of genetic sequencing are made possible by robotics. We can expect this sector to grow as developments in the innovative technologies that drive this industry flourish and evolve.
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