Metabolon Partnership with University of Maryland School of Medicine Amish Research Program Leverages Metabolomics to Identify Novel Biomarkers
MORRISVILLE, N.C. – June 21, 2022 – Metabolon, Inc., the global leader in metabolomics solutions advancing drug development and precision medicine, is partnering with the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) to bring the latest technological advances to the School’s Amish Research Program. Metabolon’s researchers will leverage metabolomics information to explore the intersection of genes and environment to understand human health and disease through this data-sharing initiative. Creating biochemical profiles of this genetically unique population will help physician-scientists more deeply understand the basics of incidental disease.
Population health researchers are increasingly turning to multi-omics to inform on the state of health and disease progression among populations. The Amish community is ideal for study due to its common lineage and homogeneous lifestyle.
Pharmaceutical researchers have been involved with the UMSOM Amish cohort since 2015, performing whole-exome sequencing (WES) on samples. The work has led to understanding various diseases and conditions, including the genetics of metabolic and cardiovascular health.
“This partnership is part of our effort to expand our disease coverage strategy by engaging in deliberate collaborations to explore clinically-relevant samples,” said Rohan Hastie, Ph.D., President and CEO of Metabolon. “We regularly do this for our clients, and now we are utilizing our deep metabolomics expertise to reveal new relevant disease biomarkers and ultimately improve patient outcomes.”
“UMSOM has worked with the Amish community since 1995. Through this partnership, UMSOM investigators have collected blood and tissue samples that have provided powerful insights into health and disease, including how this group responds to an array of cardiovascular treatments,” said Braxton D. Mitchell, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine at UMSOM. “Our partnership with Metabolon offers a rare opportunity to leverage metabolomics to biochemically profile a genetically unique population and more deeply understand the basics of incidental disease.”
“While genes typically deliver insights on the predisposition to disease, metabolomics as an endpoint can lead to the identification of specific biochemical pathways that are activated or deactivated in patients, providing actionable solutions,” commented Rangaprasad (Ranga) Sarangarajan, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), Metabolon. “Metabolomics is a key tool for understanding an individual’s current state of health compared to other ‘omics. Furthermore, Metabolomics’ unique scope and utility enable clinical decision-making.”
Many researchers and biopharma companies are integrating metabolomics with genomic and clinical datasets to link variants with metabolic pathways, providing greater biological understanding. This multi-omics approach to drug therapies helps inform decisions, supports biomarker discovery, aids in patient stratification, informs safety and efficacy, and supports post-market surveillance to improve insights into human health to ultimately improve patient outcomes.
About the Amish Research Program
The Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition and the University of Maryland School of Medicine has been studying the genetics of metabolic and cardiovascular health in the Old Order Amish (OOA) population of Lancaster County, PA, since 1995. During this time, the Amish studies have been supported by numerous research grants, and results from these studies have been described in many scientific publications.
Metabolomics, the large-scale study of all small molecules in a biological system, is the only ‘omics technology that provides a complete current-state functional readout of a biological system. Metabolomics helps researchers see beyond the genetic variation of individuals, capturing the combined impact of genetic as well as external factors such as the effect of drugs, diet, lifestyle, and the microbiome on human health. By measuring thousands of discrete chemical signals that form biological pathways in the body, metabolomics can reveal important biomarkers enabling a better understanding of a drug’s mechanism of action, pharmacodynamics, and safety profile, as well as individual responses to therapy.