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Human tissue in systems medicine

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Histopathology, the examination of an architecturally artefactual, two dimensional, static image remains a potent tool allowing diagnosis and empirical expectation of prognosis. Considerable optimism exists that the advent of molecular genetic testing and other biomarker strategies will improve or even replace this ancient technology. A number of biomarkers add considerable value for prediction of whether a treatment will work. This short review argues that a systems medicine approach to pathology will not seek to replace traditional pathology, but rather augment it. Systems approaches need to incorporate quantitative morphological, protein, mRNA and DNA. A significant challenge for clinical implementation of systems pathology is how to optimise information available from tissue, which is frequently sub-optimal in quality and amount, and yet generate useful predictive models which work. The transition of histopathology to systems pathophysiology and the use of multiscale datasets ushers in a new era in diagnosis, prognosis and prediction based on analysis of human tissue.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5949–5956
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number23
Early online date29 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

    Research areas

  • Histopathology, Human disease, Predictive models, Systems biology, Systems medicine

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