Metabolites constitute a broad range of biochemicals, including clinically accepted biomarkers like glucose or cholesterol, and serve as the core of Metanomics Health’s mass spec profiling platform, which the company uses to analyze a endogeneous and xenobiotic metabolites from body fluids and tissues, such as amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates, and many more, notes Tim Boelke, Ph.D., managing director.
“The science has evolved to a point where many of these small potential biomarkers can be simultaneously measured and provide a snapshot of biochemical homeostasis and physiological status, or its response to disease or drug treatment.”
Kristina Busch, Ph.D., business development manager, says that the company’s mass spec-based platform combines a broad profiling approach with targeted methods to provide the greatest coverage of nearly all metabolite classes. “We can also find low-abundance hormones such as catecholamines and steroids, as well as different classes of lipids and highly polar species. We’re gearing toward prospective and retrospective biomarker studies in high medical need areas.”
Since metabolism is sensitive to changes induced by drugs and diseases and also confounding factors like nutrition, lifestyle, and environment, robust study design practices and sampling are important to a successful biomarker identification campaign.
“This is not unlike all biomarker discovery methodologies like transcriptomics and proteomics. But, because of the sensitivity inherent in measuring biological response to stimuli, our methods can be applied to all kinds of problems, from understanding the metabolic effects of different nutritional and exercise regimes to how you best feed a cell culture for a recombinant-protein bioreactor run,” explains Dr. Boelke.