What can biological computers be used for?

I am running a crowd funding campaign http://bit.ly/17dUxv8 to raise money (bit coins) and support (Tweets) for CytoComp, a biological computer

As this concept might be new for many, I wish in the following to explain a bit what biological computer can be used to. I will in the following also make some posts to focus on certain diseases.

Potential applications of biological computers
Biological computers possess some distinct advantages over silicon computers . These systems can self-assemble and self- reproduce, which might provide some economic advantages. Moreover, cells can be engineered to sense and respond to environmental signals, even under extreme conditions such as high temperature, high pressure, radioactivity or toxic chemicals. Biological systems have the ability to adapt to new information from a changed environment.
The ultimate goals of biocomputing are the monitoring and control of biological systems.

Monitoring of biological systems
Biological systems need to be monitored in respect to disease diagnostic, to drug screening, to understand experimental systems, and to observe the environment.
In line with this, a biocomputer has been utilized to detect multiple disease indicators, such as mRNA of disease-related genes associated with small-cell lung cancer and prostate cancer. Moreover, they can be used in experimental models, such as conditional transgenes or inducible expression systems. Environmental monitoring is another interesting application. A cell based biosensor using logic gates has been used to detect arsenic, mercury and copper ion levels.

Control of biological systems
Biocomputers can potentially be used to control development, cell differentiation and re-programming, as all these processes depend on gene regulatory networks. Another application area is tissue engineering and tissue regeneration. Metabolic engineering has the potential to produce from simple, inexpensive starting materials a large number of chemicals that are currently derived from nonrenewable resources or limited natural resources. The metabolic flux can potentially be controlled by a biocomputer . Interesting might also be to control the immune system by a biocomputer, e.g. in transplantation medicine . An important application area is the control of malign growth. Some interesting experiments with logic based biological devices have been executed to detect cancer cells (e.g. small-cell lung cancer, prostate cancer, HeLa cells), and to induce selective apoptosis of these cells. Furthermore, biocomputers can be used to engineer context-dependent programmable drugs. A biocomputer with a context-sensing mechanism, which can simultaneously sense different types of molecules, has been engineered. In the future it might be used to detect a broad range of molecular disease symptoms, and react with the release of a drug molecule suitable for the treatment of the specific condition. In line with this concept a programmable NOR-based device has been developed capable of differentiating between prokaryotic cell strains based on their unique expression profile.

Ref: Moe-Behrens GHG (2013) The biological microprocessor, or how to build a computer with biological parts. Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal. 7 (8): e201304003.
This open-access article can be downloaded for free here http://bit.ly/1cwM43X
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