Department of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address: email@example.com.
In the footsteps of groundbreaking achievements made by biomedical research, another scientific revolution is unfolding. Systems biology draws from the chaos and complexity theory and applies computational models to predict emerging behavior of the interactions between genes, gene products, and environmental factors. Adaptation of systems biology to translational and clinical sciences has been termed network medicine, and is likely to change the way we think about preventing, predicting, diagnosing, and treating complex human diseases. Network medicine finds gene-disease associations by analyzing the unparalleled digital information discovered and created by high-throughput technologies (dubbed as "omics" science) and links genetic variance to clinical disease phenotypes through intermediate organizational levels of life such as the epigenome, transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome. Supported by large reference databases, unprecedented data storage capacity, and innovative computational analysis, network medicine is poised to find links between conditions that were thought to be distinct, uncover shared disease mechanisms and key drivers of the pathogenesis, predict individual disease outcomes and trajectories, identify novel therapeutic applications, and help avoid off-target and undesirable drug effects. Recent advances indicate that these perspectives are increasingly within our reach for understanding and managing complex diseases of the digestive system.