GBMSDG Meeting Archives
January 13, 2010
Peter Juhasz, Ph.D.
BG Medicine Systems
Systems Level Molecular Studies
of Disease & Drug Effects
Special thanks to Novartis for sponsoring this event. It is the active participation of our sponsors that allows us to keep the fees for membership, dinners, drinks, speakers, etc. so low.
Systems biology has developed in recent years from a technology driven approach to a new strategic tool in life sciences. Combining the ultimate systems based phenotyping with in depth insights into biological mechanistic molecular events create a stepping stone into new routes in disease pathology, translational medicine, integrative, and personalized medicine. One pre-requisite for this is a set of robust and well-validated analytical platforms at various biological levels of measurement especially transcripts, proteins, and metabolites in combination with a megavariate integrative biostatistical/bioinformatics platform. This implies that applicable methodologies need to undergo an intense development trajectory to reach an optimal level of robustness and quantitative applicability in daily practice. The other key requirement is an experimental design that includes a biological question that has a reasonable probability to map to measureable molecular changes, and a sample collection that is not just a high-fidelity representation of these molecular changes, but also ensures that these changes can be observed with the desired sensitivity and specificity.
At BG Medicine numerous studies have been conducted in various areas of drug and disease effects. In addition to using this extensive experience to illustrate key components of successful study designs, two case studies will be presented in detail: a system-wide discovery effort on stable and unstable atherosclerotic plaques (tissue based), and a clinical study of determining molecular signatures of disease severity in spinal muscular atrophy (plasma based). Both projects presented substantial challenges not just for high-quality analytics but also for data analysis and interpretation in an effort to deconvolve disease- and lifestyle-related signals or to interpret molecular signatures in a highly heterogeneous biological system.
Reference: J. van der Greef, S. Martin, P. Juhasz, A. Adourian, T. Plasterer, E. R. Verheij, and R. N. McBurney, The Art and Practice of Systems Biology in Medicine: Mapping Patterns of Relationships, J. Proteome Res., 2007, 6 (4), pp 1540-1559