The rapidly growing disciplines of systems biology and network science are now poised to meet the fields of clinical medicine and pharmacology. Principles of systems pharmacology can be applied to drug design and, ultimately, testing in human clinical trials. Rather than focusing exclusively on single drug targets, systems pharmacology examines the holistic response of a phenotype-dependent pathway or pathways to drug perturbation. Knowledge of individual pharmacogenetic profiles further modulates the responses to these drug perturbations, moving the field toward more individualized (‘personalized’) drug development. The speed with which the information required to assess these system responses and their genomic underpinnings is changing and the importance of identifying the optimal drug or drug combinations for maximal benefit and minimal risk require that clinical trial design strategies be adaptable. In this paper, we review the tenets of adaptive clinical trial design as they may apply to an era of expanding knowledge of systems pharmacology and pharmacogenomics, and clinical trail design in network medicine. WIREs Syst Biol Med 2011 DOI: 10.1002/wsbm.1173

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