Research Topic

Systems Biology in Precision Medicine

About this Research Topic

Precision medicine attempts to stratify patients into response classes using multimodal data from genetic/genomic screens, sequencing, blood/urine/stool tests, data on comorbidities, medical history, demographic data, etc. to identify optimum preventative, diagnostic, and treatment strategies within each group. The rationale underlying precision medicine is the recognition of the fact that varying genetic backgrounds and disparate environmental exposure makes human populations highly diverse and impacts the response of subsets of individuals to therapeutic interventions.

This is because biological pathways do not work in isolation. Cellular and tissue homeostasis is the result of systems of genes, gene products, and pathways functioning together through extensive cross talk. Complex diseases like cancer and diabetes, and even infectious diseases like HIV and COVID-19, are the result of the disruption of many pathways resulting in disease states that may look superficially similar but may be vastly different in the underlying perturbation that resulted in loss of homeostasis.

In such a situation, identifying and treating the specific perturbation that caused the disease is the key to optimal response to treatment. There is now a large body of work in Systems Biology targeted to precision medicine that is beginning to influence clinical medicine and patient care. The overall methodology of this approach is to use classification and clustering techniques on genetic, genomic, proteomic, and clinical data from diseased individuals to stratify them into groups, identify disease drivers in each group, and from the biological understanding of these drivers, find the optimum therapy for each group.

Progress in Precision Medicine requires advances on three fronts:
(a) Grouping of disease processes into categories by identifying underlying mechanisms
(b) Development of sensitive and specific diagnostic tools
(c) Identification of targeted therapeutics

In this Frontiers in Genetics call, we are looking for research articles related to the following:
- Methods and applications that integrate genomic, molecular, cellular, behavioral, environmental, pharmacological, and clinical data to stratify diseases into sub-groups using novel tools and models.
- Network biology approaches that provide insights into disease categories and underlying mechanisms.
- Data collection and curation methods from and into publicly available databases that help clinicians stratify patients into response classes.
- Novel sequencing technologies, functional assays, and cellular diagnostic tools
- Methodologies for accurate and sensitive quantification of molecular profiles using transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic signatures.
- Prediction tools for biomarker identification and prioritization
- Identification of genetic and/or environmental risk factors underlying diseases
- Genetic and pharmacological screens to understand genetic background dependencies and drug profiles
- Identification of dependencies affecting the efficacy of existing drugs
- Development of novel targeted therapeutics


Keywords: precision medicine, systems biology, genetic background, environmental exposure, homeostasis, cross talk, classification, clustering, diagnostic tools, targeted therapeutics, network biology, prediction tools


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Precision medicine attempts to stratify patients into response classes using multimodal data from genetic/genomic screens, sequencing, blood/urine/stool tests, data on comorbidities, medical history, demographic data, etc. to identify optimum preventative, diagnostic, and treatment strategies within each group. The rationale underlying precision medicine is the recognition of the fact that varying genetic backgrounds and disparate environmental exposure makes human populations highly diverse and impacts the response of subsets of individuals to therapeutic interventions.

This is because biological pathways do not work in isolation. Cellular and tissue homeostasis is the result of systems of genes, gene products, and pathways functioning together through extensive cross talk. Complex diseases like cancer and diabetes, and even infectious diseases like HIV and COVID-19, are the result of the disruption of many pathways resulting in disease states that may look superficially similar but may be vastly different in the underlying perturbation that resulted in loss of homeostasis.

In such a situation, identifying and treating the specific perturbation that caused the disease is the key to optimal response to treatment. There is now a large body of work in Systems Biology targeted to precision medicine that is beginning to influence clinical medicine and patient care. The overall methodology of this approach is to use classification and clustering techniques on genetic, genomic, proteomic, and clinical data from diseased individuals to stratify them into groups, identify disease drivers in each group, and from the biological understanding of these drivers, find the optimum therapy for each group.

Progress in Precision Medicine requires advances on three fronts:
(a) Grouping of disease processes into categories by identifying underlying mechanisms
(b) Development of sensitive and specific diagnostic tools
(c) Identification of targeted therapeutics

In this Frontiers in Genetics call, we are looking for research articles related to the following:
- Methods and applications that integrate genomic, molecular, cellular, behavioral, environmental, pharmacological, and clinical data to stratify diseases into sub-groups using novel tools and models.
- Network biology approaches that provide insights into disease categories and underlying mechanisms.
- Data collection and curation methods from and into publicly available databases that help clinicians stratify patients into response classes.
- Novel sequencing technologies, functional assays, and cellular diagnostic tools
- Methodologies for accurate and sensitive quantification of molecular profiles using transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic signatures.
- Prediction tools for biomarker identification and prioritization
- Identification of genetic and/or environmental risk factors underlying diseases
- Genetic and pharmacological screens to understand genetic background dependencies and drug profiles
- Identification of dependencies affecting the efficacy of existing drugs
- Development of novel targeted therapeutics


Keywords: precision medicine, systems biology, genetic background, environmental exposure, homeostasis, cross talk, classification, clustering, diagnostic tools, targeted therapeutics, network biology, prediction tools


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 January 2021 Abstract
07 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 January 2021 Abstract
07 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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