Systems Medicine, Transformational Technologies and the Emergence of Predictive, Personalized, Preventive and Participatory (P4) Medicine
Mon 8:10 AM - Plenary Session
Leroy Hood
Institute for Systems Biology
Leroy Hood, Institute for Systems Biology

Sponsored by:

The challenge for biology in the 21st century is the need to deal with its incredible complexity. One powerful way to think of biology is to view it as an informational science. This view leads to the conclusion that biological information is captured, mined, integrated by biological networks and finally passed off to molecular machines for execution. Hence the challenge in understanding biological complexity is that of deciphering the operation of dynamic biological networks across the three time scales of life—evolution, development and physiological responses. Systems approaches to biology are focused on delineating and deciphering dynamic biological networks and their interactions with simple and complex molecular machines. I will focus on our efforts at a systems approach to disease—looking at prion disease in mice. We have just published a study that has taken more than 5 years—that lays out the principles of a systems approach to disease including dealing with the striking signal to noise problems of high throughput biological measurements and biology itself (e.g. polymorphisms). This effort has also led to a new strategy for discovering blood protein biomarkers—organ-specific blood fingerprints. I will also discuss the emerging technologies (measurement and visualization) that will transform medicine over the next 10 years—including next generation DNA sequencing, mass spectrometry and microfluidic protein chips for blood biomarker analyses and single-cell analyses. I will as well discuss some of the computational and mathematical challenges that are fundaments to the revolution in medicine—both those that deal with medical sciences and those that deal in a general way with healthcare. It appears that systems medicine, together with pioneering changes such as next-generation DNA sequencing and blood protein measurements (nanotechnology) and as well as the development of powerful new computational and mathematical tools will transform medicine over the next 5-20 years from its currently reactive state to a mode that is predictive, personalized, preventive and participatory (P4). This will in turn lead to the digitalization of medicine—with ultimately a profound decrease in the cost of healthcare. It will also transform the business strategies for virtually every sector of the health care industry. These considerations have led ISB to begin formulating a series of national and international strategic partnerships that are focused on accelerating the realization of P4 medicine. I will discuss some of these strategic partnerships and discuss the implications for healthcare arising from P4 medicine.