Network and systems biology offer a novel way of approaching drug discovery by developing models that consider the global physiological environment of protein targets, and the effects of modifying them, without losing the key molecular details. Here we review some recent advances in network and systems biology applied to human health, and discuss how they can have a big impact on some of the most interesting areas of drug discovery. In particular, we claim that network biology will play a central part in the development of novel polypharmacology strategies to fight complex multifactorial diseases, where efficacious therapies will need to center on altering entire pathways rather than single proteins. We briefly present new developments in the two areas where we believe network and system biology strategies are more likely to have an immediate contribution: predictive toxicology and drug repurposing.
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