Identification of novel drug targets through a systems approach
To develop a complete understanding of a complex disease, such as cancer and auto-immune diseases, information must cover multiple dimensions. Over the last few years, we have witnessed decisive advances in bioinformatics, genome sequencing, and high-throughput technologies that have highlighted the need for approaching complex diseases as a whole. Today, our ability to analyze the entire set of genes (genome), epigenetic modifications (epigenome), transcriptional regulation (transcriptome), protein interactions (proteome) and the identification of novel algorithms and software able to integrate all the ‘omics’ data, enabled the genesis of the systems biology field. Our group was one of the first to apply a systems biology approach by integrating different “omics” data by the use of Paradigm and Ingenuity algorithms, aiming to identify the central regulators of disease networks. Furthermore, the identification of disease molecular networks has allowed us to identify novel drugs targeting these networks following an approach that we have developed in our Center for Systems Biomedicine at UCLA, named “Network-based Chemical Screening” (NCS). We have successfully identified novel therapeutic targets for different diseases, including cancer, pulmonary diseases, lupus and osteoarthritis by applying a systems biology approach, suggesting the wide applicability and effectiveness of this approach.
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The findings of this study were featured in “The Scientist” magazine (article by Megan Scudellari on April 12th, 2010). This article was presented in the Focus Magazine (April 23, 2010) and websites of Harvard Medical School, Dental School and School of Public Health. Evaluated as an “exceptional” paper by Faculty of 1000 Biology. This article was presented in Nature Reviews Genetics (11:386, 2010) and Nature Reviews Cancer (10:387, 2010).
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