Quantum network medicine: rethinking medicine with network science and quantum algorithms


Scientific and technological advances in medicine and systems biology have unequivocally shown that health and disease must be viewed in the context of the interplay among multiple molecular and environmental factors. Understanding the effects of cellular interconnection on disease progression may lead to the identification of novel disease genes and pathways, and hence influence precision diagnostics and therapeutics. To accomplish this goal, the emerging field of network medicine applies network science approaches to investigate disease pathogenesis, integrating information from relevant Omics databases, including protein-protein interaction, correlation-based, gene regulatory, and Bayesian networks. However, this requires analysing and computing large amounts of data. Moreover, if we are to efficiently search for new drugs and new drug combinations, there is a pressing need for computational methods that could allow us to access the immense chemical compound space until now largely unexplored. Finally, at the microscopic level, drug-target chemistry simulation is ultimately a quantum problem, and hence it requires a quantum solution. As we will discuss, quantum computing may be a key ingredient in enabling the full potential of network medicine. We propose to combine network medicine and quantum algorithms in a novel research field, quantum network medicine, to lay the foundations of a new era of disease prevention and drug design.