South Korean biotechnology company Macrogen announced that it will be prototyping a “blockchain-based dielectric big data distribution platform” with the help of Bigster, also hailing from South Korea, according to the biotech firm’s press release yesterday, August 6.
Blockchain For DNA
The partnership will be utilizing blockchain technology to store and transmit DNA information, admitting that it is “sensitive personal information” where an individual’s biological characteristics are recorded. According to the announcement, innovative cryptographic and non-cryptographic measures must be applied for the security of patients, not to mention that it has to be stable enough to process large amounts of data.
The partnership will be using a consortium blockchain model, which will only grant access to involved entities, and which will be easy to expand and manage. The model will invite other participants including hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, genome analysis firms, and research institutes.
“Despite the fact that genomic data is widely used, it has not been easy to distribute and utilize because of the problem of personal information protection solution. The blockchain-based distribution platform that we built this time… [can] create an ecosystem that can freely distribute healthcare data.”
Blockchain For Healthcare
Novel as it may seem to be, but the idea has already been explored in 2014 when Israel-based startup DNA.Bits began looking into storing genetic and medical record information through blockchain technology.
Barely two weeks ago, the US Congressional Valley Fever Task Force introduced the bipartisan FORWARD Act which will be combating the disease Coccidioidomycosis, more popularly known as Valley Fever. The legislation will be using blockchain technology for patient privacy, information sharing, among others.
Consequently, Mount Sinai Hospital’s Icahn School of Medicine launched its Center for Biomedical Blockchain Research, aimed at using blockchain technology in drug development, healthcare delivery, and cost reduction.
Many more are beginning to realize how blockchain technology could improve the healthcare sector, especially the longstanding issues of vaccine and drug integrity, patient record protection, data storage, as well as cost and processing reduction.
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