Navigation Links
Systems biology brings hope of speeding up drug development
Date:11/19/2008

Almost every day brings news of an apparent breakthrough against cancer, infectious diseases, or metabolic conditions like diabetes, but these rarely translate into effective therapies or drugs, and even if they do clinical development usually takes well over a decade. One reason is that medical research is conducted in highly fragmented groups focusing on specific pathways or components leading to drugs that turn out not to work properly or to have dangerous side effects after cycles of animal and then clinical testing in humans. This process is expensive and wasteful, resulting from the fact that at present researchers lack tools to assess in advance how candidate drugs work across the human's whole biological system. The discipline of systems biology represents an attempt to unite the medical research community behind a common approach to understanding and modelling the complex interactions of the human, leading to more effective and faster drug development.

Europe is now at the forefront of this growing movement that brings together a number of disciplines including mathematics, physics, statistics, bioinformatics, genetics and all the "omics" technologies dealing with genes, proteins, and biological pathways. Earlier this year leading specialists in systems biology met at an important conference organised jointly by the European Science Foundation and the University of Barcelona, providing a snapshot of current progress and a roadmap for future research.

The conference provided a platform to direct and accelerate other ongoing programmes in which the emerging tools of systems biology are being applied to specific areas of medicine, notably the SBMS (Systems Biology to combat Metabolic Syndrome) initiative. Metabolic syndrome is the term for various conditions that can lead to diseases such as type 2 diabetes where cells of the body develop resistance against insulin, impairing the regulation of blood glucose levels. The aim of SBMS is to understand the molecular and cellular systems that underlie risk factors associated with various diseases resulting from metabolic syndrome, by studying them at a systems wide level rather than focusing on individual specific components even when these appear to play a central role.

Yet the challenge of system biology as a whole is to integrate different components of the body at widely different scales of time and size, without being swamped by immense quantities of data, or computational models that are impossibly complex to handle, according to Roel van Driel, systems biology specialist at the University of Amsterdam, who was co-convenor of the ESF conference as well as head of the SBMS initiative. A big problem in medical research lies in duplication of effort and in particular creation of large sets of data that are difficult to share between projects, according to van Driel, who said that biology as a whole needed to become a big science, based on a stronger more analytical framework, more like physics. "The problem is not shortage of funding in medical research, but fragmentation into too many small projects," said van Driel. "We need a large-scale programme."

In fact biology has already had one large-scale programme involving focused collaboration between many projects across the world, the Human Genome Project of the 1990s. This led to a basic map of the genetic code common to all humans, although not of all the variations, or alleles, that give rise to individual differences. In fact the genome project yielded only limited information about the underlying genes and what they do, let alone how they are regulated and interact in different organs and metabolic pathways. That is the much greater challenge of systems biology, requiring the whole organism to be broken down into manageable systems that can be linked together to make predictions such as the effect of a particular candidate drug. These systems were discussed at the ESF conference, which also highlighted progress in the important related field of synthetic biology, involving engineering of organisms such as bacteria to create novel "systems" capable of manufacturing effective drugs.


'/>"/>

Contact: Roel van Driel
r.vandriel@uva.nl
31-205-255-150
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Systems Biology poised to revolutionize the understanding of cell function and disease
2. Cogent Systems and Northrop Grumman Reach Agreement to Settle Automated Fingerprint Identification Technology Suit and Create Strategic Alliance
3. Radiant Systems Selects BIO-key(R) Biometric Software for POS Solution
4. Fujitsu and HT Systems Partner to Provide Biometric Patient Identity Management
5. Fujitsu and HT Systems Partner to Provide Biometric Patient Identity Management
6. Radiant Systems Selects BIO-key(R) Biometric Software for POS Solution
7. Cogent Systems and Northrop Grumman Reach Agreement to Settle Automated Fingerprint Identification Technology Suit and Create Strategic Alliance
8. Smartcard Finger-Match Add-on for VeriFinger and MegaMatcher is Now Available for the Implementation of Biometric Fingerprint-on-Smartcard Verification Systems
9. Study shows genetically engineered corn could affect aquatic ecosystems
10. Genetically engineered corn may harm stream ecosystems
11. NYUs Center for Genomics & Systems Biology receives $4.4 million NSF grant
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, ... biometric identity management and secure authentication solutions, today ... million contract by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity ... technologies for IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation ... the onset and IARPA,s Thor program will allow ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards and Mr. ... the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive Officer said," ... and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we move forward ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 5, 2017 Today HYPR Corp. , ... server component of the HYPR platform is officially ... end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune ... already secured over 15 million users across the financial ... connected home product suites and physical access represent a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/14/2017)... ... , ... Boston Strategic Partners, Inc. (BSP), a life-sciences and ... Research (HEOR) and ‘big data’ to provide in-depth analysis of pneumonia patients characteristics, ... trillion with nearly 1/3 spent on hospitalizations. BSP has access to real-world data ...
(Date:9/14/2017)... Boston, Massachusetts (PRWEB) , ... September 14, 2017 ... ... automated Big Data Management and exploratory analytics solutions, today announced that its Anzo ... . , Each year, KMWorld’s list includes technologies and solutions that help organizations ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... Avomeen.com, the analytical laboratory that is ... will be exhibiting at the 16th annual Contract Pharma Conference to highlight some ... an educational conference for pharma and bio-pharma professionals that has multiple speakers with ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... September 15, 2017. Pittsburgh, PA. ... of the Department of Surgery and Cancer and Director of the MRC-NIHR National ... His presentation, “Analytical Science in Precision Medicine: Facing the Challenges of the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: