Author(s): Kitano H
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Abstract Many potential drugs that specifically target a particular protein considered to underlie a given disease have been found to be less effective than hoped, or to cause significant side effects. The intrinsic robustness of living systems against various perturbations is a key factor that prevents such compounds from being successful. By studying complex network systems and reformulating control and communication theories that are well established in engineering, a theoretical foundation for a systems-oriented approach to more effectively control the robustness of living systems, particularly at the cellular level, could be developed. Here, I use examples that are based on existing drugs to illustrate the concept of robustness, and then discuss how a greater consideration of the importance of robustness could influence the design of new drugs that will be intended to control complex systems.
This article was published in Nat Rev Drug Discov
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research