Cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to constitute the leading cause of death globally. CVD risk stratification is an essential tool to sort through heterogeneous populations and identify individuals at risk of developing CVD. However, applications of current risk scores have recently been shown to result in considerable misclassification of high-risk subjects. In addition, despite long standing beneficial effects in secondary prevention, current CVD medications have in a primary prevention setting shown modest benefit in terms of increasing life expectancy. A systems biology approach to CVD risk stratification may be employed for improving risk-estimating algorithms through addition of high-throughput derived omics biomarkers. In addition, modeling of personalized benefit-of-treatment may help in guiding choice of intervention. In the area of medicine, realizing that CVD involves perturbations of large complex biological networks, future directions in drug development may involve moving away from a reductionist approach toward a system level approach. Here, we review current CVD risk scores and explore how novel algorithms could help to improve the identification of risk and maximize personalized treatment benefit. We also discuss possible future directions in the development of effective treatment strategies for CVD through the use of genome-scale metabolic models (GEMs) as well as other biological network-based approaches.
Keywords: metabolism; network medicine; patient stratification; risk estimation; systems biology; systems medicine.