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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 742835, 8 pages
Review Article

Advanced Systems Biology Methods in Drug Discovery and Translational Biomedicine

Molecular Medicine Research Center, State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, West China Hospital, West China School of Medicine, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China

Received 17 June 2013; Accepted 26 August 2013

Academic Editor: Bing Niu

Copyright © 2013 Jun Zou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Systems biology is in an exponential development stage in recent years and has been widely utilized in biomedicine to better understand the molecular basis of human disease and the mechanism of drug action. Here, we discuss the fundamental concept of systems biology and its two computational methods that have been commonly used, that is, network analysis and dynamical modeling. The applications of systems biology in elucidating human disease are highlighted, consisting of human disease networks, treatment response prediction, investigation of disease mechanisms, and disease-associated gene prediction. In addition, important advances in drug discovery, to which systems biology makes significant contributions, are discussed, including drug-target networks, prediction of drug-target interactions, investigation of drug adverse effects, drug repositioning, and drug combination prediction. The systems biology methods and applications covered in this review provide a framework for addressing disease mechanism and approaching drug discovery, which will facilitate the translation of research findings into clinical benefits such as novel biomarkers and promising therapies.