Most chronic diseases impairing current human public health involve not only the human genome but also gene-environment interactions, and in the latter case the gut microbiome is an important factor. This makes the classical single drug-receptor target drug discovery paradigm much less applicable. There is widespread and increasing international interest in understanding the properties of traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) for their potential utilization as a source of new drugs for Western markets as emerging evidence indicates that most TCM drugs are actually targeting both the host and its symbiotic microbes. In this review, we explore the challenges of and opportunities for harmonizing Eastern-Western drug discovery paradigms by focusing on emergent functions at the whole body level of humans as superorganisms. This could lead to new drug candidate compounds for chronic diseases targeting receptors outside the currently accepted "druggable genome" and shed light on current high interest issues in Western medicine such as drug-drug and drug-diet-gut microbial interactions that will be crucial in the development and delivery of future therapeutic regimes optimized for the individual patient.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- drug discovery
- global systems biology
- gut microbiome
- traditional Chinese medicine