When Blockchain Meets Synthetic Biology


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An interesting article published by Syniobeta, July 27th, 2019, discussed if there is a place for blockchain technology within the cutting edge practices of synthetic biology.

Data is Data

While many people associate blockchain with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Litecoin, we have to look and see what blockchain is at face value: an immutable data ledger.

This fact is that blockchain seemingly possesses unlimited potential in any sector thanks to a notable feature, the ability to privately and reliably secure data.

When it comes to biotech companies, blockchains ability to secure personal genomics data is already becoming more common; consumers can keep their data secure in a database where only they can access, and third party companies (like drug manufacturers) must request access to data at the consumer’s discretion.

Data Secured for Generation

The problem with genomic data is that blockchain companies are selling to the industry just as new as cryptocurrency. Healthcare, on the other hand, is a mature industry that is only going to get bigger as medicine and life spans improve.

With so much concern around the privacy of user data, blockchain companies pivoting into healthcare are fighting an uphill battle.

The secondary concern is the ethics of how data is sourced – an essential for those looking to use human data to discover trends and create new cures or medicines. Thanks to blockchains ability to transparently show where data is sourced without compromising the individual’s privacy, this concern shouldn’t be a problem as well.

Everything within healthcare or biotech benefits from being able to securely store, transfer, and record data. Surgeries, clinical trials, surveys, all revolve around keeping detailed records and making sure that the data is handled correctly.

Sometimes a patients data changes on an hourly basis as seen with critical patients, or data from patient to patient can be only slightly different – both situations that are difficult for nurses or doctors to remain perfectly diligent about.

While sourcing and securing data is important, what you do and how you analyze that data is equally as important. This is where blockchains interaction with AI and machine learning will come into play, yet another emerging platform to watch out for.

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