Bioinformatics can be loosely defined as the collection, classification, storage, and analysis of biochemical and biological information using computers and mathematical algorithms. Although no single person or group started the field wholly on their own, Temple Smith , Ph.D., a professor at Boston University, is generally credited with coining the term. Bioinformatics represents a marriage of biology, medicine, computer science, physics, and mathematics, fields of study that have historically existed as mutually exclusive disciplines.
Concurrently, bioinformatics has vaulted into the public’s eye in lay newspapers and magazines, most notably in the area of (personalized) DNA sequencing. The combined result is that bioinformatics is being heralded as a panacea to the current limitations in the clinical management of cancer. While certainly over optimistic in some regards, this designation is not without promise particularly in the area of cancer diagnosis and prognosis.
The focus of this book is to: i) to provide a historical and technical perspective on the analytical techniques, methodologies, and platforms used in bioinformatics experiments, ii) to show how a bioinformatics approach has been used to characterize various cancer-related processes, and iii) to demonstrate how a bioinformatics approach is being used to bridge basic science and the clinical arena to positively impact patient care and management.