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Systems Biology poised to revolutionize the understanding of cell function and disease
Date:9/7/2007

on Group, DKFZ, in Heidelberg, Germany insists that the road to success will depend on standardising experimental techniques to avoid conflicting data. The HepatoSys consortium, for instance, that models liver function, agreed at the outset to use data from only one inbred mouse strain.

For pharmaceutical companies, adopting Systems Biology strategies could soon translate into innovative new medicines, Adriano Henney, from AstraZeneca, Cheshire, U.K. believes. Modelling and simulation, which so far have played a minor role in R&D, could avoid some of the pitfalls that result in promising compounds failing at the clinical trial stages.

At Unilever, a producer of food and personal care products, Systems Biology could allow safety decisions to be made without resorting to animal tests. According to Janette Jones and U.K. colleagues at Unilever, the company is currently investigating how to integrate the results from protein microarrays or chips into mathematical models as a test for skin sensitivity.

Embracing Systems Biology could boost a companys profits, says John Savin of Wendover Technology in the U.K. Not only will software-based technology cut the risk of therapeutics failing at the clinical stages, but discarded drugs could be revived by understanding what went wrong and possibly overcome the problem. As a result, computer modelling will become a mainstream tool in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, he predicts.

Knowledge emanating from European-wide programmes on mammalian cell cycle, tissue development and degeneration, stem cell differentiation, organelle function, and endocytosis are paving the way in this rapidly moving field. The EU has emerged as a major world player in Systems Biology, says Alfred Game from the BBSRC in Swindon, U.K. Already, research agencies in Europe have engaged in the ERA- SysBio, an ERA-NET set up to better coordinate their activities in this area.

The new report is the outc
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Contact: Thomas Lau
tlau@esf.org
33-388-762-158
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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