Objectives of e:Med

Establishing systems medicine in Germany

Systems medicine is regarded as the key to modern medicine, which is geared to the molecular signature of diseases, instead of adhering to classification by clinical patterns or specific organs. It thereby offers huge potential for individualized medicine and uses system-oriented approaches in research and clinical care, in order to consider complex physiological and pathological processes in their entirety and thereby better understand them. Central components on the one hand are methodological approaches to genome and post-genome research (“omics”), with which large data quantities can be collected in high-throughput procedures – and on the other hand their computer-based analysis, integration, development of predictive mathematical models to predict the effectiveness of medicines or therapies and finally transfer to the application.

A nationwide systems medicine network is to be established through the e:Med research and funding concept, in which the following objectives are pursued:

Deeper understanding of widespread diseases


In order to facilitate more comprehensive diagnostics and individually adjusted prevention and therapy schemes in individualized medicine, we need exact knowledge of the complex interplay of pathophysiological processes and external factors. However, the occurrence of many diseases can only be provided with an incomplete explanation through the isolated assessment of individual components. As a result, e:Med scientists systematically examine molecular correlations in human bodies and their impact from environmental factors. The objective here is to record the entirety of all molecules in specific classes (DNA, proteins or metabolic products) in temporal and spatial resolution. In particular the integration of results from different (omics) analyses should facilitate a deeper understanding.

Development of the latest information technologies and innovative data management


Developments in modern high-throughput methods and bioinformatics for systems medicine research allow them to penetrate to an even greater depth. The quantities of systematically recorded and analyzed data are growing rapidly as a result. Their electronic processing (e:Med), i.e. editing, which makes data usable and interpretable for researchers and doctors, is vital. e:Med scientists are therefore developing system-oriented, innovative methods and models, which allow a forecast to be made of the behavior and interaction of specific factors in computer simulations. The close cooperation between mathematicians and information scientists with doctors and biologists at e:Med creates the ideal conditions in this respect. The development of international standards for data collection is supported and their compliance promoted.

Translation into medical practice


System-oriented approaches are aimed at practicing smarter prevention, making more accurate diagnoses and employing more targeted therapies. Systems medicine is therefore crucial to the development of individualized medicine based on molecular knowledge, centered on human beings. This was what shaped the vision of P4 medicine: personalized, preventive, predictive, participative (Hood, L. & Friend, S.H. (2011) Nat. Rev. Clin. Oncol. 8, 184-187). In order to allow for the transfer of approaches, methods and findings of systematic biomedical basic research into practicable formats and clinical application, the development of corresponding expertise in clinical research is promoted within the framework of e:Med. Benefits and applicability of data records and mathematical models are tested. The results should contribute to an improvement in the design of clinical studies in the medium term.