This book introduces systems epidemiology, which is a new scientific discipline borne by novel technologies. These have opened up the potential for studies of temporal changes in the carcinogenic process and the response of the immune system, all measured as functional genomics: gene expression, micro RNA and methylation. Systems epidemiology is an integrated approach based on epidemiological methods with biobanks designed for studies of the trajectories or curves of functional genomics moving from before diagnosis, at diagnosis and postdiagnostic. It demands new epidemiological designs, the globolomic one, new statistical methods for description and analyses of time changes and incorporating basic knowledge from reductionist experiments and clinical outcomes including molecular biomarkers of cancer tissue and normal tissues.
The authors go through the many steps necessary for understanding the benefits systems epidemiology can bring to cancer research. Systems epidemiology integrates approaches from a range of different scientific discipline: epidemiology, biostatistics, basic research, and clinical research, challenging the barriers between these disciplines.
The book is edited by Eiliv Lund, who is professor emeritus in epidemiology at the Institute of community medicine at UiT The Arctic University of Norway and currently affiliated with the Cancer Registry of Norway as a research scientist. He was the founder of the postgenome biobank in the Norwegian Women and Cancer study - NOWAC.