Traditional chinese medicine-based network pharmacology could lead to new multicompound drug discovery

Jian Li, Cheng Lu, Miao Jiang, Xuyan Niu, Hongtao Guo, Li Li, Zhaoxiang BIAN, Na Lin, Aiping LYU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


Current strategies for drug discovery have reached a bottleneck where the paradigm is generally "one gene, one drug, one disease." However, using holistic and systemic views, network pharmacology may be the next paradigm in drug discovery. Based on network pharmacology, a combinational drug with two or more compounds could offer beneficial synergistic effects for complex diseases. Interestingly, traditional chinese medicine (TCM) has been practicing holistic views for over 3,000 years, and its distinguished feature is using herbal formulas to treat diseases based on the unique pattern classification. Though TCM herbal formulas are acknowledged as a great source for drug discovery, no drug discovery strategies compatible with the multidimensional complexities of TCM herbal formulas have been developed. In this paper, we highlighted some novel paradigms in TCM-based network pharmacology and new drug discovery. A multiple compound drug can be discovered by merging herbal formula-based pharmacological networks with TCM pattern-based disease molecular networks. Herbal formulas would be a source for multiple compound drug candidates, and the TCM pattern in the disease would be an indication for a new drug.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149762
JournalEvidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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