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Could Dr. House be replaced by a computer?
Date:10/16/2008

Scientists know that different normal and diseased tissues behave differently. But a method that tells them just how they do so may one day give medical science a new way to fight obesity, hypertension, diabetes and other dangerous disorders of the metabolism.

Until now, scientists had to rely on basic observations at the cellular level, since they lacked information about the metabolic processes of individual organs, such as the liver, heart and brain.

But a new computational approach developed by computer scientists Tomer Shlomi, Moran Cabili and Prof. Eytan Ruppin from the Blavatnik School of Computer Science at Tel Aviv University may help science gain a clearer overall picture of the metabolic processes in our different tissues. Their model could be potentially used in the future to refine the diagnosis of various metabolic-related disorders, aid in treatment and develop new drugs. The results of their research were recently reported in the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology.

Between Healthy and Diseased Tissues Lies the Answer

The model integrates tissue-specific information from healthy or diseased organs and matches it to an existing model of the global human metabolic network to predict metabolic tissue behavior. Their results, shared with Markus Herrgard and Bernhard Palsson from the University at San Diego, "establish a computational basis for the genome-wide study of normal and abnormal human metabolism in a tissue-specific manner," says Prof. Ruppin.

The computational model describes metabolism in ten different human tissues, exposing the functions in the body responsible for metabolism a set of chemical reactions occurring in living organisms that allows tissues to grow, maintain their structures, and function and respond to other bodily cues. And while the research published focuses on ten specific tissues, the tool can be expanded and applied to other tissues, then potentia
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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