Big data, big knowledge: big data for personalised healthcare
The idea that the purely phenomenological knowledge that we can extract by analysing large amounts of data can be useful in healthcare seems to contradict the desire of VPH researchers to build detailed mechanistic models for individual patients. But in practice no model is ever entirely phenomenological or entirely mechanistic. We propose in this position paper that big data analytics can be successfully combined with VPH technologies to produce robust and effective in silico medicine solutions. In order to do this, big data technologies must be further developed to cope with some specific requirements that emerge from this application. Such requirements are: working with sensitive data; analytics of complex and heterogeneous data spaces, including non-textual information; distributed data management under security and performance constraints; specialised analytics to integrate bioinformatics and systems biology information with clinical observations at tissue, organ and organisms scales; and
specialised analytics to define the “physiological envelope” during the daily life of each patient. These domain-specific requirements suggest a need for targeted funding, in which big data technologies for in silico medicine becomes the research priority.