A pharma perspective on the systems medicine and pharmacology of inflammation

Math Biosci. 2015 Feb;260:2-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mbs.2014.07.006. Epub 2014 Jul 21.


Biological systems are complex and comprehend multiple scales of organisation. Hence, holistic approaches are necessary to capture the behaviour of these entities from the molecular and cellular to the whole organism level. This also applies to the understanding and treatment of different diseases. Traditional systems biology has been successful in describing different biological phenomena at the cellular level, but it still lacks of a holistic description of the multi-scale interactions within the body. The importance of the physiological context is of particular interest in inflammation. Regulatory agencies have urged the scientific community to increase the translational power of bio-medical research and it has been recognised that modelling and simulation could be a path to follow. Interestingly, in pharma R&D, modelling and simulation has been employed since a long time ago. Systems pharmacology, and particularly physiologically based pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic models, serve as a suitable framework to integrate the available and emerging knowledge at different levels of the drug development process. Systems medicine and pharmacology of inflammation will potentially benefit from this framework in order to better understand inflammatory diseases and to help to transfer the vast knowledge on the molecular and cellular level into a more physiological context. Ultimately, this may lead to reliable predictions of clinical outcomes such as disease progression or treatment efficacy, contributing thereby to a better care of patients.

Keywords: Inflammation; Physiologically based models; Systems biology; Systems pharmacology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drug Industry
  • Humans
  • Inflammation*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Pharmacology*
  • Systems Analysis*
  • Systems Biology*