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Combination of life sciences and artificial intelligence: infinite progress

This article is courtesy of RMBIO's sister company, Welgene. 

Life science is a study that explores life phenomena, such as the structure and principles of living organisms, and is a very important study that is used for human development and welfare in areas such as the environment and medicine in connection with other academic fields. As life science develops into a broader field, it faces more diverse problems. Some problems can be solved very easily by humans, but there are also problems that are difficult to solve with human power alone. Therefore, to overcome these limitations, artificial intelligence (AI) is being introduced into life sciences.

Artificial intelligence refers to computer science that allows machines or computers to behave like humans by imitating human thinking ability based on the development of computers and the accumulation of big data. The combination of life sciences and artificial intelligence has been promoted due to the technological advancements and increase in data that have been accumulated to date, and the global artificial intelligence market size in life sciences is estimated to be $ 2.88 billion in 2024, and $ 8.88 billion in 2029. The CAGR figure is expected to grow by approximately 25.23% (Global Information, 2024).

 

So, let's talk about some fields and cases where life science and artificial intelligence are combined and applied.

 

  1. Data analysis and processing

Artificial intelligence is actively used in genetic disease research and analysis because it can quickly process large biological data sets (e.g., genetic sequencing data). There are as many as 7,000 rare genetic diseases caused by genetic mutations, and the causes can be very complex, making diagnosis and identification of the cause very difficult. Therefore, Google's artificial intelligence subsidiary, DeepMind, has developed an artificial intelligence analysis tool that finds and analyzes disease-causing genetic mutations in the human genome and is currently being actively used.

  1. Disease diagnosis and prediction

Artificial intelligence helps diagnose diseases and detect complex diseases such as cancer early. In August 2022, an artificial intelligence model was released that uses deep learning technology to help diagnose patients and predict prognosis. It integrates a variety of patient clinical information into one, provides a quick and accurate diagnosis, and can process data from numerous patients.

  1. New drug development

Artificial intelligence is being used as an important solution to reduce the speed of new drug development, so pharmaceutical companies are currently actively utilizing artificial intelligence to develop new drugs. The Korea Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Association established an artificial intelligence new drug development team in August last year and surveyed the number of domestic pharmaceutical and bio companies conducting collaborative research with artificial intelligence companies, which revealed that the number increased from 5 in 2019 to 40 in 2023. Artificial intelligence can accurately and quickly perform target identification and molecular screening during the drug discovery process, making it quite effective in reducing costs all the way to the drug design stage.

  1. Personalized medicine

Personalized precision medicine refers to medical care in which artificial intelligence provides customized treatment tailored to each patient based on the individual's clinical information, genetic factors, environment, disease history, and lifestyle habits. Since 2018, the Ministry of Science and ICT has implemented 'Doctor Answer ', a Korean-style artificial intelligence precision medical service, which links and analyzes various medical data such as diagnosis information, medical images, genome information, and lifestyle patterns to provide personalized disease prediction and diagnosis.

As life science and artificial intelligence combine, humanity is making infinite progress and new opportunities are opening up in the future. However, as a new path opens, there are many challenges that must be overcome. As life sciences and artificial intelligence develop, issues such as personal information protection, ethical questions, and algorithmic bias will inevitably arise, and in order to deal with them wisely, we need to understand the fundamentals of how we define and shape society and ourselves through science and technology. Questions must be constantly asked, and conversations and discussions between numerous people, including researchers and artificial intelligence developers, must take place.