Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Systems Biology Recommended As A Clinical Approach To Cancer

Date:
July 30, 2009
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
Bioinformatics specialists are advocating the use of systems biology as an innovative clinical approach to cancer. This approach could result in the development of improved diagnostic tools and treatment options, as well as potential new drug targets to help combat the many potentially fatal types of the disease.

Four researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech and their colleagues at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine are advocating the use of systems biology as an innovative clinical approach to cancer. This approach could result in the development of improved diagnostic tools and treatment options, as well as potential new drug targets to help combat the many potentially fatal types of the disease.

Related Articles


In an upcoming paper in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, the international journal of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, the team highlights the usefulness of a systems biology approach in developing a comprehensive view of cancer diseases, which will help researchers better understand the complex processes related to cancer progression, diagnosis, and treatment. Systems biology brings together mathematical modeling, simulations, and quantitative experiments, allowing researchers to use the data of one of the approaches to repeatedly define the framework of the other approaches. Biochemical networks are central to biological function, while computer models provide a particularly useful way to understand their workings. Biochemical models are the ideal means to design and predict the effect of interventions, such as cancer treatments.

"One of the goals of this paper is to show the potential benefits that can result from moving the use of systems biology techniques closer to the clinic," explained VBI Professor Reinhard Laubenbacher. "We believe this kind of shift is very possible. For example, mathematical models could integrate patient characteristics to help researchers determine the features of dynamic processes linked to cancer progression, diagnosis, and treatment. Systems biology has an increasingly important role in cancer research and treatment, especially as mathematical modelers, biologists, and clinicians continue working together. Through these transdisciplinary efforts, the needs of the clinic can directly impact work in the laboratory."

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."

In addition to Laubenbacher and Akman, other contributors to the paper included VBI Associate Professor Vladimir Shulaev, VBI Associate Professor and University of Manchester Professor of Computer Science Pedro Mendes, VBI Bioinformatician Abdul Jarrah, Georgia Institute of Technology Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics Valerie Hower, Wake Forest University Professor of Biochemistry Suzy Torti, and Professor and Director of Wake Forest University's Comprehensive Cancer Center Frank Torti.

The work was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health and financial support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in the United Kingdom.

* Reinhard Laubenbacher, Valerie Hower, Abdul Jarrah, Suzy V. Torti, Vladimir Shulaev, Pedro Mendes, Frank M. Torti, and Steven Akman (2009) A Systems Biology View of Cancer. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, June 6, 2009, Epub ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2009.06.001


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Laubenbacher et al. A systems biology view of cancer. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Reviews on Cancer, 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2009.06.001

Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Systems Biology Recommended As A Clinical Approach To Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090709110838.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2009, July 30). Systems Biology Recommended As A Clinical Approach To Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090709110838.htm
Virginia Tech. "Systems Biology Recommended As A Clinical Approach To Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090709110838.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins