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The Systems Biology of Stem Cell Released Molecules—Based Therapeutics

DOI: 10.1155/2013/784541

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Most therapeutics are based on the traditional method of reductionism where a clinically defined condition is broken down into a defined biochemical pathway underlying the condition, then a target in the pathway is identified, followed by developing a drug to interact with the target, modifying the target such that the disease is ameliorated. Biology acts as a system, therefore reductionist approaches to developing therapeutics are limited in therapeutic value because disease or traumatized tissue involves multiple underlying pathways, only a part of the pathways underlying the disease is manipulated by the traditional therapeutic. Much data regarding stem cells shows that their beneficial effects are not restricted to their ability to differentiate, but is more likely due in large part to their ability to release a multitude of molecules. Stem cells release potent combinations of factors that modulate the composition of the cellular milieu to evoke a multitude of responses from neighboring cells. Therefore, stem cells represent a natural systems-based biological factory for the production and release of a multitude of molecules that interact with the system of biomolecular circuits underlying an indication. Current research includes efforts to define, stimulate, enhance, and harness stem cell released molecules (SRM) to develop systems-therapeutics. 1. Introduction In the postgenomic era, where even individual somatic cells display genetic heterogeneity [1], knowing the sequence of the genome has limited predictive value in disease diagnosis and treatment [2, 3]. Thus new diagnostic and therapeutic regimens are needed beyond those that rely on simple genomics [4]. While research and development costs in the pharmaceutical industry continue to increase, the number of new approved drugs is on a steady decline and new paradigms for drug development are being proffered [5–7]. Following the rapid emergence of in vitro and in silico screening tools, including molecular and genetic tools, there have now been advances in systems-based tools necessary to describe the effects of drug candidates within the complex biochemical pathways of intact, fully assembled living networks [8]. The pharmaceutical industry has thus realized the need to develop innovative strategies and new technologies to identify and develop new drug candidates, moving away from the over reliance of nonpredictive genetic tools [4]. One of the newly identified strategies and technologies is systems biology. As an example of a systems biology technique, a new analytical tool has emerged called


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