Biobanking and freezer software is used for a number of worthwhile causes, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Due to a recent change, the Los Alamos National Laboratory may be able to put these applications to good use: the lab recently updated their bioinformatics software, allowing healthcare professionals, researchers, and other users to quickly identify diseases and choose the proper therapies for conditions like cancer. This would allow them to analyze millions of samples that have been gathered and stored using biobanking software, hopefully yielding some helpful information for treatments and more.
Founded during World War II, the Los Alamos National Laboratory is one of the largest science and technology institutions in the world. While it was originally created to design nuclear weapons as part of the Manhattan Project, the facility now conducts multidisciplinary research in a number of different fields, including nanotechnology, medicine, and renewable energy. As part of the lab’s medical research, the facility decided to upgrade to the latest version of its software, Sequedex.
While laboratory software is typically associated with lab sample tracking or freezer inventory, Sequedex is used to recognize patterns in short DNA sequences. Once recognized, the system associates them with specific functions and phylogeny, or evolutionary relationships. Los Alamos scientists compare the program to a web browser search, but instead of accessing online documents, the bioinformatics software uses its search terms to connect patterns to previously-identified genomes and DNA sequences.
Sequedex can reportedly classify fragments 250,000 times faster than other methods, making it a potentially useful tool in the field of translational research. Defined as a way to improve individual and communal health by “translating” findings into diagnostic tools, medicines, procedures, policies and education, translational medicine could use Sequedex’s software to analyze millions of samples currently being preserved in biobanks around the world. And with the number of tissue samples alone increasing by 20 million a year, not to mention the genetic, physical, lifestyle, and family data that typically accompanies these samples, the Los Alamos National Laboratory has plenty of information to use. Will this software update lead to the next big medical discovery, or even new therapies for common conditions? Only time will tell.