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2020 vision of vaccines for malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS
Date:5/25/2011

parts alone. "The power of systems biology comes from its capacity to predict the behavior of an entire biological system," Aderem said. "From there, we can optimize vaccine candidates and predict whether a drug or vaccine candidate can work before it moves into large scale, very expensive clinical trials."

Systems biology can also be used to speed the often lengthy clinical trial experience. Aderem and Rappuoli estimate that in trials of new vaccines for malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS, only one hypothesis has been tested every eight years in the past three decades. "We cannot afford this approach if we want to have an impact on disease in a reasonable timeframe," Aderem said. "We can accelerate clinical development by performing more efficacy trials and by improving their design using systems biology approaches to test several hypotheses in parallel and having an adaptive design to expand the outcomes that prove most promising."

Aderem and Rappuoli also debunk one of the key criticisms of systems biology that it is overly reliant on computation. "Much of this comes from a misunderstanding on the role of computers in systems biology," Aderem explained. "Computers are not expected to come up with biological insights from the outset, but are meant to facilitate an integration of discovery science with hypothesis-driven science to yield a holistic description of a biological system."

While progress has been made over the past few years in the development of novel vaccines against the three most challenging infectious diseases in the world, Aderem and Rappuoli conclude that innovative design of clinical trials, testing several vaccines in parallel and getting early information using systems biology approaches will accelerate vaccine development and increase understanding of the human immune system.


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Contact: Jennifer Mortensen
jennifer.mortensen@seattlebiomed.org
206-256-7220
Seattle Biomedical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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