Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mining biotech’s data mother lode

20.12.2005


A EU-sponsored project has developed a suite of tools that will enable biotech companies to mine through vast quantities of data created by modern life-science labs to find the nuggets of genetic gold that lie within.


A 3D structure of a kinase-inhibitor interaction predicted for the pancreas tumour gene expression data. The predicted interaction is important for the regulation of cell growth.



The BioGrid project brought together six partners from the UK, Germany, Cyprus and The Netherlands to address one of the key problems facing the life sciences today.

"How to integrate the huge volume of disparate data – on gene expression, protein interactions and the vast output of literature both inside and outside laboratories – to find out what is important," says Dr Michael Schroeder, Professor of the Bioinformatics group at Dresden Technical University and coordinator of this IST-funded project. "I attended a workshop recently, held by the W3 consortium, and many of the companies there said that this was the biggest problem they face."


Currently, pharmaceutical and biotech companies produce vast quantities of raw data on the problems that interests them. Microarrays process thousands of samples to discover what genes are over expressing. These over-expressing genes – numbering sometimes in their thousands, too – create proteins. The researchers then need to discover what protein interactions are taking place among all the different proteins created by the over-expressing genes. This is not trivial.

If a researcher can identify protein interactions they then need to do a search on their company intranet to see what other work company labs have produced relevant to the topic. Finally, the researcher must perform a search of academic journals to find relevant journal papers. Currently PubMed, the most important public literature database available, has 15,000,000 entries, and the number is growing every day. Finding relevant data there is again not a trivial task.

Dr Schroeder gives an example. "The medical faculty here were studying pancreatic tumours. They found 1,000 genes over expressing. Using our software they were able to find, among others, three protein interactions that were particularly relevant. Using our literature search ontology they were able to discover that two of these interactions were novel. They are now going to study these novel interactions more closely," he says.

BioGrid explained

This is how the project will help companies integrate all the data they need to make relevant discoveries using a BioGrid. A BioGrid is essentially a data and computational Grid created through a suite of tools developed by the project.

Here’s how it works. One element of the software suite analyses over-expressing genes discovered during micro assays to establish what proteins become encoded. This uses standard techniques.A second analysis tool in the suite predicts what possible protein-protein interactions are taking place. This is novel. When a gene encodes a protein, the protein folds up into a unique shape, forming a 3D structure. This structure can only interact, or fit, with some proteins, but not others, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

BioGrid’s protein interaction software includes a database of the 20,000 known protein structures and uses that database to identify which ones could potentially interact, among the thousands of proteins created by the over-expressing genes. Once interesting potential protein interactions are known, BioGrid’s ontology-based search technology can mine company or journal data for any relevant information.

Linking all these software tools together is a rules-based Java scripting language called Prova, also developed by the BioGrid team. It is the glue the sticks the Gene Expression, Protein Interaction and ontology-based literature analysis together into an integrated, cohesive unit. "It’s an open source language, available at www.prova.ws, and about 20 groups are using it around the world right now. We made it open source because you need to develop a community to keep a programming language alive," says Dr Schroeder.

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/79828

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>