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J Burn Care Res. 2008 Mar-Apr;29(2):277-85. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e31816677c8.

Translational systems biology: introduction of an engineering approach to the pathophysiology of the burn patient.

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Department of Surgery, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


The pathophysiology of the burn patient manifests the full spectrum of the complexity of the inflammatory response. In the acute phase, inflammation may have negative effects via capillary leak, the propagation of inhalation injury, and development of multiple organ failure. Attempts to mediate these processes remain a central subject of burn care research. Conversely, inflammation is a necessary prologue and component in the later stage processes of wound healing. Despite the volume of information concerning the cellular and molecular processes involved in inflammation, there exists a significant gap between the knowledge of mechanistic pathophysiology and the development of effective clinical therapeutic regimens. Translational systems biology (TSB) is the application of dynamic mathematical modeling and certain engineering principles to biological systems to integrate mechanism with phenomenon and, importantly, to revise clinical practice. This study will review the existing applications of TSB in the areas of inflammation and wound healing, relate them to specific areas of interest to the burn community, and present an integrated framework that links TSB with traditional burn research.

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