The Computational Life and Medical Sciences (CLMS) Network Third Annual Symposium of 2013 provided a great insight into how the computational sciences are transforming medicine and the life sciences.

The challenges of Big Data both from a governance and analytical point of view present significant challenges, but promise to bring about radical changes in how we manage and treat disease. A keynote address by Professor Andrew Morris from the University of Dundee highlighted the capability of the information and computer sciences to transform healthcare, which

is arguably the last major industry to be transformed by the information age. Deployments of information technology have only scratched the surface of possibilities for the potential influence of information and computer science on the quality and cost-­‐effectiveness of healthcare.

However one major challenge is to establish a common framework for analysing and sharing genomic information that could really accelerate the speed of medical research. An important initiative in this regard is the Global Alliance, which comprises of 70 organisations who have come together to form an agreement that will enable the standardisation and sharing of genomic, and clinical data. This data would be accessible to researchers all around the world. In an era of globalisation this initiative sets an important milestone in how scientists from all around the world can collaborate to solve some of humanity's grand challenges.

We are as Professor Morris highlighted at a point when we could realise lifelong healthcare in its truest sense, from a pre-clinical phase to clinical events. By monitoring people's health from when they are born; identifying genetic risks to environmental factors, which influence health, it would really be a look at lifetime risk, which could be managed, and transform both the health of a country and its economic prosperity. This would build a whole new dimension to the idea of personalised medicine and the NHS ideal of 'cradle to the grave.'

You can read a whitepaper announcing the Alliance here.

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