Systems medicine and proactive P4 medicine: revolutionizing healthcare. Predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory

Published on November 4, 2014   45 min
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This is a lecture on Systems Medicine and Proactive P4 medicine, Revolutionizing Health Care. Is by Lee Hood, President of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington.
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The grand challenge for biology and medicine has always been deciphering the incredible biological complexity that are intrinsic to both. I remember early in the 1970s when I went to Caltech, puzzling over biological complexity, and beginning to think in the earliest embryonic ways about systems approaches to deal with that complexity, it was clear that we were really lacking in both technological and conceptual approaches to complexity.
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It is amusing now to look over my career of some 40 years, and to see that I had actually participated in five paradigm changes in biology that dealt with complexity. The first of these paradigm changes was bringing engineering to biology. I developed five instruments that allowed us to analyze and synthesize proteins and genes. One of these was the automated DNA sequencer. And these instruments led to high throughput biology, and this, of course, ended up in creating the age of big data in biology that we're all so familiar with. The second paradigm change had to do with the fact that while inventing the automated DNA sequencer, people were beginning to consider the Human Genome Project. And I was invited to the first meeting ever, and it took us five years to persuade a very skeptical biological audience. But indeed, the Human Genome Project gave systems approaches to biology an enormous boost forward by creating a complete parts list for human genes, and by inference for the human proteins. The other advance that the automated DNA sequencer brought is I realized how to be successful we had to integrate the disciplines of engineering, computer science, chemistry, and biology. And I began then arguing that biology should create departments that are cross-disciplinary in nature, and that integrate into the biology department, the technology experts needed to invent the technologies of the future for biology. This enabled me to create the Department of Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Washington, with the generous help with Bill Gates. And that department went on over eight years to just revolutionize various aspects of genomics, and proteomics, and cell biology. It was clear that I needed to develop systems biology, again, to really deal with the complexity. And I ended up resigning from the University of Washington and creating my own institute, the Institute for Systems Biology in the year 2000. And it has focused, indeed, on developing systems science, and the allied technologies and analytic tools that were necessary for it. And very early on in this endeavor, we started applying systems biology to disease. And from that emerged the discipline of systems medicine, and ultimately, proactive P4 medicine, and I'll talk in some detail about what each of those are subsequently.
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So what exactly are the central features of systems medicine?
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I would say they are three mindsets. Number one, I'm going to argue that in the very near future, patients are going to be surrounded by virtual clouds of billions of data points. They'll be of many different types, molecular, cellular, clinical data, environmental data and the like. And that we will have the computational wherewithal to aggregate these data, integrate them, and create models for each individual that can be used to optimize wellness and minimize disease. And we'll talk in some detail about this a little bit later on. Two issues emerge from this big data picture of medicine. One, signal to noise issue raises the question of how do we extract from an enormous amount of noise, a very small signal? And systems approach gave us the ability to do that. And two, one of the grand challenges in systems medicine is how we integrate together these very different multi-scalar types of data to create models for each individual of wellness optimization and disease avoidance?
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Systems medicine and proactive P4 medicine: revolutionizing healthcare. Predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory

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