Nature Reviews Genetics 12, 56-68 (January 2011) | doi:10.1038/nrg2918

Network medicine: a network-based approach to human disease

Albert-László Barabási1,2,3, Natali Gulbahce1,2,4 & Joseph Loscalzo3  About the authors


Given the functional interdependencies between the molecular components in a human cell, a disease is rarely a consequence of an abnormality in a single gene, but reflects the perturbations of the complex intracellular and intercellular network that links tissue and organ systems. The emerging tools of network medicine offer a platform to explore systematically not only the molecular complexity of a particular disease, leading to the identification of disease modules and pathways, but also the molecular relationships among apparently distinct (patho)phenotypes. Advances in this direction are essential for identifying new disease genes, for uncovering the biological significance of disease-associated mutations identified by genome-wide association studies and full-genome sequencing, and for identifying drug targets and biomarkers for complex diseases.

Author affiliations

  1. Center for Complex Networks Research and Department of Physics, Northeastern University, 110 Forsyth Street, 111 Dana Research Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
  2. Center for Cancer Systems Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
  3. Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
  4. Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, 1700 4th Street, Byers Hall 309, Box 2530, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.

Correspondence to: Albert-László Barabási1,2,3 Email: