Merrimack Pharmaceuticals CEO Robert Mulroy says the traditional approach to cancer — making drugs that go after certain proteins — is "fundamentally flawed," according to the Forbes' Treatments blog's Robert Langreth. Merrimack is now working with Sanofi-Aventis to develop cancer drugs using the principles of systems biology. Instead of working with one gene at a time, researchers from the two companies are using differential equations, computer simulations and good old-fashioned bench work to understand how molecular circuits go wrong in cancer patients, Langreth says. "The goal is to try to find the best place to intervene with a drug, rather than just going after whatever tumor gene mutation happened to be discovered most recently," he adds. Mulroy says it's important to understand the underlying logic of molecular circuitry in order to understand how cancer cells grow, and that the circuits are too complex to be understood by studying one gene at a time.
Using Systems Biology to Beat Cancer
Sep 22, 2010