HiTS fosters and rewards collaborations that span traditionally independent disciplines and communities.
Our initiative includes experimentation and computation, basic and clinical science, and academe, regulatory agencies and industry.
The emphasis on computation and modeling is essential. We believe that the development and application of advanced computational tools is necessary to tackle the challenges of “big data” in biomedicine and extract actionable knowledge about existing and investigational drugs in individual patients.
Beyond the “silver bullet”
HiTS and similar systems biology based approaches explicitly break with conventional “silver bullet” approaches to drug discovery and instead focus on the functions of disease genes and drug targets in the context of complex multi-component networks and systems. This may still lead to breakthrough discoveries involving single drugs, but rational combination therapy guided by response biomarkers seems more likely to dominate in the long-term.
Our approach is also “post-genomic” insofar as it makes uses of remarkable advances in genome sequencing while seeking similar advances in approaches rooted in biochemistry, cell biology and physiology.
The LSP is an interdisciplinary research facility that applies computationally intensive and data rich approaches to diseases such as cancer and inflammation with a focus on developing the knowledge and assays needed to treat individual patients with the right drug, overcoming drug resistance and developing a rational approach to combination therapy. The LSP houses investigators from academic institutions including Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, Harvard-affiliated hospitals, Tufts and MIT.
Regulatory science engages experts in clinical trial design, toxicology and risk surveillance in academe and the FDA to improve the processes for evaluating drugs in animal models and human clinical trials.
Our PhD training program educates students in systems pharmacology and translational medicine in part through clinical and industrial internships that expose students to real-world problems in drug development and use.
The LSP has recruited and trained teams of scientists across disciplines organized into a Technology Platforms Cluster (TPC) in Genomic sequencing, Mass-spec proteomics, Quantitative imaging, Bioinformatics and Modeling. These Platforms enable LSP investigators and affiliates to complete large, complex experiments with full confidence in the quality of the data, and support for data integrity and analysis through computational models.