For the past 20 years, Metabolon has been committed to advancing life sciences research and improving human health through metabolomics, first by establishing metabolomics as a powerful technology and then by utilizing this technology to gain a holistic understanding of human health and disease. We can’t do this alone—the key to our success has been partnerships with both academic and clinical research groups that are playing a huge role in advancing precision medicine through metabolomics.
With an explosion of powerful new metabolomics datasets, Metabolon established new partnerships this year that will enable us to expand our disease coverage strategy and access clinical data for driving novel insights.
«Our [partnerships] with investigators with access to well-powered cohorts that have been extensively characterized both genetically and clinically provide us the opportunity to demonstrate the power of metabolomics to illuminate the natural history of disease, stratify patient populations, and track therapeutics responses,» summarizes Karl Bradshaw, Vice President of Corporate Development at Metabolon.
As we reflect on 2022 and look forward to 2023, we anticipate new challenges that can be met with novel advances centered around data access and integration. We are prepared to meet those challenges head-on together with our expert partners.
How Data Integration Will Drive Metabolomics Advances
The past year saw several advances in data integration—historically a major challenge facing metabolomics—that we can build upon in 2023.
«Efforts in the integration of metabolomics to other omics and metadata [using] artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) analytics have led to novel insights and improved understanding and appreciation of the link of the microbiome and environment [with] health and disease,» says Metabolon’s CSO, Ranga Sarangarajan. The continued application of AI and ML techniques will continue to drive the field forward in several important ways.
«Data and information can be captured from many different sources,» emphasizes David Foster, VP of Technology and AI at Metabolon. «But understanding the data is key to understanding customers and patients and developing better products and services. Artificial intelligence and machine learning allow us to analyze data and draw insights far more quickly than doing it manually, ensuring faster time to market, reduced risks [and] uncertainty, lowered costs, and fewer burdens on patients.»
How Data Access Will Drive Metabolomics Advances
Of course, the key to realizing the power of AI and ML for metabolomics datasets necessitates the right datasets.
«Human-based disease datasets can identify and validate a target’s relevance to disease, and translation of the drug from preclinical models to early human studies will significantly benefit from the use of metabolomics,» says Sarangarajan. But the impact of metabolomics on precision medicine doesn’t depend only on access to patient samples.
«Access to highly curated and clinically annotated longitudinal population health sample sets provides the opportunity to generate comprehensive metabolomic profiles of a ‘healthy cohort,'» says Sarangarajan, «establishing highly reliable small molecule/lipid reference ranges for several hundred molecules, offering an expanded window into health status and potential diagnosis of disease.»
«Longitudinal datasets are also key to identify metabolite biomarker signatures, both for health and disease,» adds Bradshaw.
«Genes are a snapshot in time and only provide the potential risk of disease, but many factors beyond genomics impact health. Metabolites reflect the culmination of internal [and external] cues to provide an accurate snapshot of an individual’s health,» he says, «Understanding how analytes change with age and disease will provide the opportunity to identify metabolite biomarker signatures that can be introduced to the clinic as a healthy screen on an individualized basis and allow people to track their health and disease status over time.»
Preparing for the Year Ahead
Strategic partnerships have enabled us to capture data and information from many different sources, and we’ve laid the foundation for an incredibly innovative and exciting year. We know that understanding these data is the key to realizing precision medicine. We can combine deep insights gained from metabolomics datasets with powerful data integration and analysis techniques, which can change patient lives. We hope you’ll join our partners and us in what is sure to be an incredible year ahead.