About this Research Topic
Network pharmacology, which integrates information science and systematic medicine, is evolving as a frontier research field of drug discovery and development. The current merging of omics technologies and bioinformatics provide computational and experimental strategies toward network pharmacology. With a network-based insight, network pharmacology intends to systematically reflect and reveal the biological foundation of complex diseases and drug effects. At the same time, “network target”, a key concept that derived from the multi-targets nature of traditional medicine has been proposed, shifting the current “single target” research paradigm. The network-target-based network pharmacology is a promising strategy for the next generation mode of drug research and development for traditional medicine.
Traditional medicine makes a feature of personalized, holistic and multicomponent therapy, and still plays a key role in modern health care. The systems thinking of traditional medicine have shared much with the core ideas of network pharmacology, which provided important insights for modern drug discovery and may serve as a foundation of future rational drug development against complex diseases. Compared with modern drugs with explicit mechanisms, the challenge for traditional medicine is to understand the molecular mechanism of multicomponent therapies. Moreover, the lack of scientific knowledge of the pharmacological action and the bioactive principle within the multicomponent therapies has already hindered the advance of traditional medicine. Network pharmacology has provided key reference for evidence-based efficacy standards and safety evaluation of traditional medicine.
Recently, there has been growing interest in using artificial intelligence and big omics data to study the “network target” underlying traditional medicine. Hopefully with the current progress in network pharmacology research techniques, more network-based analytical approaches could be assimilated into such a medical field in order to accelerate the comprehension of the nature of traditional medicine and promote the discovery processes of traditional medicine. The potentiality of network pharmacology arouses a future therapeutic strategy that involves integrated treatment of complex disorders through targeting a specific network. The boom in network pharmacology has prompted more clinicians and scientists to devote their attention and efforts in elucidating the possible mechanism of action underlying the traditional therapeutics in recent years.
In this Research Topic, we intend to publish high-quality research papers as well as review articles giving an overview of recent advances pertaining to network pharmacology and traditional medicine. In addition, submissions on the development of novel treatment guided by network pharmacology, including the understanding of the underlying mechanisms of action, the aid in the design of effective integrative clinical trials, the discovery of biologically active compounds, biomarkers for complex diseases and optimizing traditional therapies, are welcomed.
Many thanks to Miss Zheng Jiahui for her role in the coordination and launch of this Research Topic.
Additional note from journal-
Studies with the specific aim to either improve local healthcare by developing products based on such knowledge or studies in the context of drug discovery / development from natural sources will be considered if they are based on biological resources with a clear and well-defined local or traditional use. Purely biodiversity-based screening studies and studies of established natural products and their mechanism of action are outside the scope of this section. Studies reporting such local and traditional uses will only be accepted if the comply with the ConSEFS standards (Heinrich et al. 2017) . Toxicological research and clinical studies on medicinal plants are welcome.
The following basic guidelines, focused on best practice in ethnopharmacology, should be followed by all submissions:
- This Specialty Section of Frontiers in Pharmacology subscribes to the taxonomic standards laid down most importantly at the Kew MPNS portal and also the Royal Botanic Gardens/Kew/Missouri Botanical Garden The Plant List initiative ``. Of course, full botanical documentation is essential (i.e. a voucher specimen deposited in a recognized herbarium).
- Antioxidant activity: here in vivo or in vitro studies using generally acceptable pharmaceutical models are essential. Simple in silico and pharmacologically irrelevant assays for antioxidant activity (e.g. the DPPH assay, FRAP (Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma), ABTS (2,2'-azinobis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid)) are not acceptable as a main tool for assessing an extract or a compound for activity. Such assays are commonly used in food chemistry and other fields, but are not of pharmacological relevance.
- Dose ranges must be pharmacologically relevant. While impossible to define an exact cut-off, studies testing extracts at implausibly high doses are increasingly common in the literature.
- Positive and negative controls must be included.
- Models must be pharmacologically relevant and plausible - a complex issue depending on the specific goals of the study. Authors must consider the ethical acceptability of further in vivo studies on an already well-studied species, demonstrating some common activity (e.g. an anti-inflammatory effect studied in the rat-paw oedema).
- The composition of the study material must be described in sufficient detail
- If ‘pure’ compounds are used information on the level of purity must be included
In case of ethnopharmacological field studies you must follow the ConSEFS standards
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.