The Challenge of Translating System Biology into Targeted Therapy of Cancer

  • Alessandra Jordano Conforte
  • Milena Magalhães
  • Tatiana Martins Tilli
  • Fabricio Alves Barbosa da Silva
  • Nicolas CarelsEmail author
Part of the Computational Biology book series (COBO, volume 27)


Translational medicine has been leveraging new technologies and tools for data analysis to promote the development of new treatments. Integration of translational medicine with system biology allows the study of diseases from a holistic perspective. Cancer is a disease of cell regulation that affects genome integrity and ultimately disrupts cell homeostasis. The inter-patient heterogeneity is well characterized, and the scientific community has been seeking for more precise diagnoses in personalized medicine. The use of precision diagnosis would maximize therapeutic efficiency and minimize noxious collateral effects of treatments to patients. System biology addresses such challenge by its ability to identify key genes from dysregulated processes in malignant cells. Currently, the integration of science and technology makes possible to develop new methodologies to analyze a disease as a system. Consequently, a rational approach can be taken in the selection of the most promising treatment for a patient given the multidimensional nature of the cancer system. In this chapter, we describe this integrative journey from system biology investigation toward patient treatment, focusing on molecular diagnosis. We view tumors as unique evolving dynamical systems, and their evaluation at molecular level is important to determine the best treatment options for patients.



This study was supported by fellowships from the Oswaldo Cruz Institute ( to A.C., from Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia de Inovação em Doenças de Populações Negligenciadas (#573642/2008-7) to M.M., and from Convenio CAPES/Fiocruz (cooperation term 001/2012 CAPESFiocruz) to T.M.T.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandra Jordano Conforte
    • 1
  • Milena Magalhães
    • 1
  • Tatiana Martins Tilli
    • 1
  • Fabricio Alves Barbosa da Silva
    • 2
  • Nicolas Carels
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratório de Modelagem de Sistemas Biológicos, Centro de Desenvolvimento Tecnológico em SaúdeFundação Oswaldo CruzRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Modelagem Computacional de Sistemas Biológicos, Programa de Computação CientíficaFundação Oswaldo CruzRio de JaneiroBrazil

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