By now the assertion that puts blockchain on the list of worldwide phenomenons is a categorical truth. Evidently, recent advancements in South Korea have exceeded past economics and have taken blockchain into medical healthcare. Macrogen, a first-class biotech firm in South Korea, has announced its latest plans to use blockchain, to share and store genetic data and prevent it from exposure to possible hacks and security issues, implying privacy optimization. Partnering with local big data company Bigster, Macrogen plans to develop and launch a blockchain platform that enables genetic information to be shared over a wide network in June 2019.
Why bother with blockchain?
Medical platforms of all scopes such as medical centers, pharmaceutical firms and research institutes can use this data for personalized treatments, research and experimentation for new medicine, cures and procedures.
However, due to security and privacy concerns, the data is not the kind to be shared without caution. Gene data contains pivotal information about a person’s biological traits. The risk of exposing DNA to the wrong end of the table could lead to severe issues such as identity manipulation, theft and fraud. Patients may be sensitive towards their genetic information and for a leading giant such as Macrogen, the matter holds greater importance.
Speaking to local news outlet The Korea Herald, Macrogen CEO Yang Kap-seok commented:
Despite the fact that genomic data is widely used, it has not been easy to share it because of the problem of personal information protection. With the blockchain platform we seek to build this time, we expect to create an ecosystem that can freely distribute genetic data.
Breaking down the process
If you’re baffled about blockchain technology being a huge benefactor to medical centers and patients, here’s how:
- Medical organizations transfer all data regarding non-identifiable users to the blockchain, with clinical tests, conditions as well as genetic information from existing systems.
- Transactions or non-identifiable user identities with their complete data is now stored on blockchain. Now, smart contracts start processing the data for each transaction.
- Medical organizations can now send requests to blockchain. Non-identifiable user identities are now view able and their conditions analyzable.
- Now, patients can choose to reveal their identities to chosen medical organization by sharing a key linked to their user identity available on the blockchain.
Safe, secure and convenient for all parties involved.
Far from being the sole contributor to genomics and healthcare, the number of firms dedicated to safe and secure data maintenance have grown exponentially. A patent led by Intel as of last year wished to extract energy from cryptocurrency mining to use in sequencing DNA.
A startup called DNA.bits similiarly revealed plans to communicate medical information using blockchain. With DNA.bits, hospitals may be able to monetize the data and after completion, reside on the main blockchain.
British pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, has recently invested $300 million into 23andMe, a major Silicon Valley genetic information provider.
Another successful venture was the inception of ideas circumventing blockchain for secure data exchange, by Longenisis, also dedicated to the same task as Macrogen.