Future perspectives of personalized medicine in traditional Chinese medicine: A systems biology approach

Deconstruction of molecular pathways and advances in enabling technology platforms have opened new horizons for disease management, exploring therapeutic solutions to each individual patient beyond the one-size fits all practice. Application of personalized medicine paradigms aims to achieve the right diagnosis and right treatment for the right patient at the right time at the right cost. With the potential to transform medical practice across global communities, personalized medicine is emerging as the flagship of modern medicine. In recent years, the health care paradigm has shifted from a focus on diseases to a major hot of personalized traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with holistic approach. TCM focuses on health maintenance, emphasizes on enhancing the body’s resistance to diseases and especially showes great advantages in early intervention, personalized and combination therapies, etc. Systems biology, a new science of the 21st century, becomes practically available and resembles TCM in many aspects such as study method and design, and is current key component technologies that serves as the major driving force for translation of the personalized medicine revolution of TCM principles into practice, will advance personalized therapy principles into healthcare management tools for individuals and populations. Such system approach concepts are transforming principles of TCM to modern therapeutic approaches, enable a predictive and preventive medicine and will lead to personalized medicine. To realise the full potential of personalized TCM, we describe the current status of principles and practice of TCM integrated with systems biology platform. Some characteristic examples are presented to highlight the application of this platform to personalized TCM research and development as well as some of the necessary milestones for moving TCM into mainstream health care.
Aihua Zhang, Hui Sun, Ping Wang, Ying Han, Xijun Wang. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2011 doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2011.10.007

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