According to the researchers, before the functional differences between a cancer cell and a normal cell can be understood, an assessment of the overall biochemical network, not just the individual molecular mechanisms involved, is needed. A more complete picture of the system's dynamic characteristics can help contribute to the development of improved diagnostics and techniques that can disrupt the progression of the disease. They discuss three case studies related to diagnostics, therapy, and drug development in detail to demonstrate how a systems-level view can provide important insights related to the disease. The examples, which involve cases of breast cancer, B-cell lymphomas, and colorectal cancer, demonstrate the various kinds of clinical issues that can arise, as well as the use of different mathematical methods that can be used in a systems biology approach.
According to Wake Forest University Professor of Medicine Steve Akman, "The systems biology approach provides an opportunity for major advancements in our understanding of carcinogenesis. Cancer biologists are just beginning to understand what mathematicians, engineers, and computer scientists have long known that the behavior of dynamic systems are more than just the sum of the individual components. The VBI-Wake Forest collaborative group was established in response to the realization that the potential applications of systems biology to the cancer problem will be effected only through collaborations between cancer biologists, mathematicians, engineers, and computer scientists."
|Contact: Susan Bland|