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J Proteome Res. 2007 Apr;6(4):1540-59. Epub 2007 Mar 21.

The art and practice of systems biology in medicine: mapping patterns of relationships.

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BG Medicine, Inc., Waltham, Massachusetts 02451, USA.


Systems biology has developed in recent years from a technology-driven enterprise to a new strategic tool in Life Sciences, particularly for innovative drug discovery and drug development. Combining the ultimate in systems phenotyping with in-depth investigations of biomolecular mechanisms will enable a revolution in our understanding of disease pathology and will advance translational medicine, combination therapies, integrative medicine, and personalized medicine. A prerequisite for deriving the benefits of such a systems approach is a reliable and well-validated bioanalytical platform across complementary measurement modalities, especially transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, that operates in concert with a megavariate integrative biostatistical/bioinformatics platform. The applicable bioanalytical methodologies must undergo an intense development trajectory to reach an optimal level of reliable performance and quantitative reproducibility in daily practice. Moreover, to generate such enabling systems information, it is essential to design experiments based on an understanding of the complexity and statistical characteristics of the large data sets created. Novel insights into biology and system science can be obtained by evaluating the molecular connectivity within a system through correlation networks, by monitoring the dynamics of a system, or by measuring the system responses to perturbations such as drug administration or challenge tests. In addition, cross-compartment communication and control/feed-back mechanisms can be studied via correlation network analyses. All these data analyses depend critically upon the generation of high-quality bioanalytical platform data sets. The emphasis of this paper is on the characteristics of a bioanalytical platform that we have developed to generate such data sets. The broad applicability of Systems Biology in pharmaceutical research and development is discussed with examples in disease biomarker research, in pharmacology using system response monitoring, and in cross-compartment system toxicology assessment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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