Accelerating Biomedical Research through Semantic Web Services

Accelerating Biomedical Research through Semantic Web Services

Artemis Chaleplioglou (Academy of Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8751-6.ch096
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In view of the fact that there is a lot of biomedical research data, rapidly accumulating to relevant repositories, there is an urgent need these data to be delivered, as soon as possible, to the specific scientific audience interesting in it. Unfortunately, the current database technologies often isolate data rather than making it easily and freely accessible. A considerable effort by the information scientists is needed to process the resources that meet the scientific query criteria as well as to index and present them as useful metadata. Taking into account that biomedical data are mostly hidden from the public eye, often stored in not indexed databases or libraries and inaccessible by standard search engines, the retrieval, storing, annotating, and qualification of health information remain major challenges. The evolution of the World Wide Web from a collection of unstructured and predominantly human readable data into the Semantic Web of knowledge with meaningful relationships between resources and machine readable data will significantly improve our ability to conduct bioinformatics analyses and to make better clinical decisions that positively affect healthcare outcomes. To this end novel semantic web services arise, which depend on markup ontologies in order to make biological and clinical data logical analysis computational and reasonable processed through the utilization of appropriate algorithms. Herein, we discuss the use of these technologies for the efficient and reliable retrieval of meaningful biomedical data from the relevant resources and repositories.
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Information in the World Wide Web accumulates rapidly with increasing rate. The size of the internet was increased by 37% within 2013, with more than 8∙108 web sites recorded ( Furthermore, because of the widespread antibiotic resistance to infections, the prevention of prescription drug abuse and overdose is significant. The acceleration of biological science capabilities raises bioethical questions, and the risk of inadvertent or intentional release of pathogens is high.

Figure 1.

Semantic web is connecting global biomedical challenges to current biomedical approaches


Mortality of women and children in low and middle income countries account for over 95% of all maternal and child deaths because of the lack of sanitary conditions. The high occurrence of non-transmittable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease are the predominant etiology of human mortality worldwide because of life-style, toxic substance contamination and environmental pollution ( In their fight against human disease, biomedical researchers and clinicians hold a variety of modern and old fashion interdisciplinary tools. Genomics, proteomics, systems biology, molecular biology, novel vaccines and target designed chemical drugs, novel surgical therapeutic protocols and implantable devices data aggregate in the World Wide Web with exponential growth.

Integration of all these sources of information is a difficult task, and the Semantic web may be the only answer, as it is evident by the converging trends of standard literature and semantic information queries in the last ten years (See Figure 2). Indeed, semantic web services offer to the end user a reliable set of analytical instruments by gathering and evaluating computer readable data and deliver them in the form of human readable information. Semantic Web services are standing on top of classical web services and the Semantic Web markup, utilizing static resources of World Wide Web sites and transforming them to dynamic resources with interoperable semantics. Therefore, it is anticipated that utilization of this system of data analysis would offer to the scientific community a powerful tool for depositing, organizing, handling and extracting biomedical information.

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