The Translational Bioinformatics Conference (TBC) has been one of the most successful multidisciplinary conference series in the rapidly emerging field of translational bioinformatics. The Third Annual TBC (TBC 2013) jointly held with the Human Genome Variation meeting (HGV 2013) for 5 days at the JW Marriot Hotel, Seoul, South Korea provided the opportunity to improve the understanding of complex and rare diseases and propose new ways of approaching basic health problems by integrating genomic and clinical data.
There is growing demand for translational bioinformatics approaches that would allow the heterogeneous data from basic research to be integrated systematically into clinical practice in a cohesive and large-scale manner. The expectation is for translational bioinformatics to integrate and correctly extract clinically actionable information from huge data sets at all levels across biological molecules, subcellular compartments, signaling pathways, cells, tissues, organs, and systems. Another challenge is the cultural differences between research scientists and clinicians and their different value systems.
Linking molecular research and clinical applications will enormously benefit human health. Applying translational bioinformatics to next-generation cancer genome sequencing has been very successful in extracting valuable prognostic gene signatures, clinically actionable mutations, novel network biomarkers, and therapeutic targets across many types of malignancy, with examples appearing in areas such as pharmacogenomics, drug developments, and rare Mendelian disorders. I believe that novel translational bioinformatics methodologies developed by multidisciplinary stakeholders will rapidly expand into many clinically disease areas.