The complex reality of most diseases, as proposed here for Dupuytren's disease. Dupuytren's disease (DD) depends on the simultaneous occurrence of several malfunctions, each of which is controlled by a network of internal and environmental factors. These networks also have roles in processes (Z) other than just DD development. In this example of a systems biology disease, only careful dissection of the network changes determined by accurate experiments that involve (i) different points in time/progression of the disease and different genetic and environmental backgrounds, (ii) quantitative experimentation at the transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic and functional levels, and (iii) computation-assisted analysis and experimental design can lead to understanding of the disease and rational and optimally effective therapies. This figure is for illustrative purposes only and the precise network structure has yet to be fully determined.
Rehman et al. Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011 13:238 doi:10.1186/ar3438