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Exploring the intersection of oral health and systems medicine to identify next-generation biomarkers

Early signs of human systemic diseases often appear in the mouth, such as the link between cardiovascular and periodontal disease, making the oral cavity an important target for discovering biomarkers to advance personalized medicine. Advances in integrative medicine and a better understanding of these types of connections will benefit from a more robust dialogue between the fields of systems medicine, oral health research and clinical practice, and biomarker discovery, which is the aim of a special issue of OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology, the peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The special issue, entitled “From Oral Health to Systems Medicine and Next Generation Biomarkers, is available free on the OMICS website until March 14, 2016.

Guest Editor Ulvi K. Gürsoy, PhD, DDS, University of Turku, Finland, has brought together a unique collection of reviews and original research articles that focus on topics such as biofilms, which are described as the “connectors” for oral and systems medicine, biobanks in oral health, and health technology assessment (HTA) for next-generation diagnostics. An article on “materiomics” describes designer biomaterials being developed for oral disease diagnostics and personal health monitoring applications. Additional articles describe the use of zebrafish as models for systems medicine research and development, and the possibility of repurposing L-menthol, which induces cell death, for use in cancer therapy and systems medicine.

“This special issue of OMICS has a dual focus on oral health and systems medicine, building new bridges in biomedical literature to accelerate life sciences innovation,” says Dr. Gürsoy. “The rapid advances in multi-omics research, next generation genome sequencing, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics are in the best interest of scholars in systems medicine and oral health.”

OMICS Editor-in-Chief Vural Ozdemir, MD, PhD, DABCP states “OMICS brings to the fore a three-dimensional 21st century scholarship: omics biotechnologies, integrative biology, and innovation ethics. This interdisciplinary combination enables responsible innovation and systems thinking at its best in 21st century. It surfaces the technical and social determinants of health, from cell to society, that create and shape the new frontiers of global science. This special issue, edited by Prof. Gürsoy, also attests to the concept of ‘One Health’ wherein oral and systems medicine as well as human, animal, environmental, and planetary health ought to be considered integratively. OMICS will continue to make important strides in these crucially contingent and highly interdisciplinary fields of 21st century scholarship.”