Network target: a starting point for traditional Chinese medicine network pharmacology
Received:June 16, 2011  
KeyWord:network target  traditional Chinese medicine  herbal formulae  network pharmacology  systems biology
Author NameAffiliation
LI Shao Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China 
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      Understanding the interactions between numerous chemical compounds of herbs or herbal formulae and complex biological systems related with diseases or traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) syndromes is one of great dilemmas in current studies on TCM. To address such a difficult issue, we propose a novel concept and methodology of "Network Target" based on our previous works and from the perspective of network pharmacology as well as systems biology. The network target treats a disease-specific biomolecular network as a target to help design and predict the best possible treatments. Focused on mapping disease phenotypes and herbal compounds into biomolecular networks and then calculating, analyzing and predicting the mechanism of their mutual interactions, the network target approaches will facilitate discovery of effective compounds and their combinations, elucidation of mechanistic relationships between herbal formulae and diseases or TCM syndromes, and development of rational drug designs for TCM. In this paper, our recent progresses on the methodology of Network Target and its applications in herbal medicine are reviewed to provide reference for the coming TCM network pharmacology.
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