Metabolomics, the study of metabolites and biochemical processes within cells and tissues, holds the promise to allow the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease as well as to provide insights to guide drug discovery and development efforts. However, many metabolites, especially newly suggested analogs for cutting-edge research, are not commercially available. These compounds are needed to enable progress in all areas of biomedical research, including mental health studies, cancer, diabetes, and other metabolic diseases.
Developing Reference Standards for Metabolites
Along with our partners and with support from the National Institutes of Health Common Fund, we formed the Metabolite Standards Synthesis Center (MSSC) to help fill the need for mass labeled and commercially unavailable compounds by developing syntheses and providing these standards to researchers.
Our team of scientists characterizes candidate metabolites—which are nominated by the research community and approved by a selection committee—by spectral and chromatographic methods. We also provide data on their physical properties and stability, as well as analytical methods, which are incorporated into the data repository for the use of researchers.
These compounds may hold the key to advancing medicinal chemistry and drug discovery or understanding the human health effects of environmental exposures.
Demonstrating Leadership in a Rapidly Evolving Field
The study of metabolomics has the promise to help doctors detect disease states and disease progression and monitor response to therapy, as well as to identify targets for drug design. In recent years, metabolomics methods have helped develop new treatments for chronic pain, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Our work with MSSC aims to support these and other research efforts to improve therapeutic intervention and drug development, by providing scientists with compounds that would otherwise be unavailable.