Systems Biology is transforming the way scientists think about biology and disease. This novel approach to research could prompt a shake up in medical science and it might ultimately allow clinicians to predict and treat complex diseases such as diabetes, heart failure, cancer, and metabolic syndrome for which there are currently no cures.
The European Science Foundation (ESF) has published a Forward Look (FL) report System Biology: a grand challenge for Europe; an attempt to identify how research in Systems Biology could be accelerated and developed further in Europe. The report concludes with a set of specific recommendations that aims at consolidating Systems Biology efforts in Europe. The idea of this ESF initiated FL first came to light with a proposal by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) and the NWO Council for Earth and Life Sciences in the Netherlands. The proposal was later materialised into concrete effort based on extensive discussions during a number of focused workshops and meetings between scientists and policy makers from academia and industry.
The report, which includes 12 essays from the scientific experts in academia and industry, illustrates Europes potential to be at the forefront of pinpointing the system causes of diseases, according to Dr. John Marks, the chief executive of the ESF.
The report tells us it is necessary to develop a well coordinated effort, bringing together the many different research activities in Europe, and complement this with joint development of basic technologies, reference labs and training a new generation of researchers, adds Marks.
Until recently, researchers tended to focus on identifying individual genes and proteins and pinpointing their role in the cell or the human body. But molecules almost never act alone. According to Lilia Alberghina from the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy: There is a growing awareness in medical science
|Contact: Thomas Lau|
European Science Foundation