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Systems medicine: the future of medical genomics and healthcare

Systems medicine: the future of medical genomics and healthcare

Genome Medicine 1(1): 2

High-throughput technologies for DNA sequencing and for analyses of transcriptomes, proteomes and metabolomes have provided the foundations for deciphering the structure, variation and function of the human genome and relating them to health and disease states. The increased efficiency of DNA sequencing opens up the possibility of analyzing a large number of individual genomes and transcriptomes, and complete reference proteomes and metabolomes are within reach using powerful analytical techniques based on chromatography, mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance. Computational and mathematical tools have enabled the development of systems approaches for deciphering the functional and regulatory networks underlying the behavior of complex biological systems. Further conceptual and methodological developments of these tools are needed for the integration of various data types across the multiple levels of organization and time frames that are characteristic of human development, physiology and disease. Medical genomics has attempted to overcome the initial limitations of genome-wide association studies and has identified a limited number of susceptibility loci for many complex and common diseases. Iterative systems approaches are starting to provide deeper insights into the mechanisms of human diseases, and to facilitate the development of better diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for cancer and many other diseases. Systems approaches will transform the way drugs are developed through academy-industry partnerships that will target multiple components of networks and pathways perturbed in diseases. They will enable medicine to become predictive, personalized, preventive and participatory, and, in the process, concepts and methods from Western and oriental cultures can be combined. We recommend that systems medicine should be developed through an international network of systems biology and medicine centers dedicated to inter-disciplinary training and education, to help reduce the gap in healthcare between developed and developing countries.

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Accession: 056097416

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PMID: 19348689

DOI: 10.1186/gm2

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