As medicine enters the 21st century, diseases that cause permanent injury, loss, or death of organ parts continue to pose a major health issue. Even with increasing emphasis on preventive and personalized medicine, for the foreseeable future, organ-damaging diseases will continue to debilitate large segments of the world’s population. Stroke, heart attacks, osteoporosis, and neurodegeneration all involve either death or irreplaceable loss of organ parts.
Historically, transplantation and tissue engineering have partially addressed the need for organ repair and regeneration. But donor shortage and long-term medical complications limit their impact. The development of systematic methods to design and generate new organ parts has the potential to transform medicine. At present, however, there is no unified discipline that integrates our knowledge and discoveries about
- organ development
- gene and protein regulatory networks
- design principles
- progenitor and stem cells
- tissue engineering
into a systematic framework that can be used to generate organ parts to improve patient treatment. Indeed, such an undertaking requires the development of new ways of scientific thinking that do not yet exist.
Fortunately, independent scientific advances have converged to make it uniquely opportune to take a fresh, bold approach to the previously insurmountable grand challenge of designing and generating new organ parts, especially mobile tracking app. The integration of knowledge and principles from disparate fields, including
- genetics and genomics
- developmental biology
- computational science and bioinformatics
- bioengineering and materials science
is the purview of systems biology: the study of complex biological processes to understand how individual components interact on a global scale to generate specific biological structures, functions and behaviors.
|Brigham and Women’s Hospital|
|Harvard Medical School|