RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – As part of a new contract, scientists at RTI International will chemically synthesize and make available to the scientific community metabolites that researchers can then use as a standard of comparison to help identify and detect diseases.
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 provide insights to guide drug discovery and development efforts.
“With this project, we want to enable research that can contribute to earlier and reliable diagnosis and facilitate a better understanding of diseases,” said Herbert Seltzman, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at RTI and the project’s director. “Providing scientists with known, postulated, or isotopically labelled compounds that are otherwise unavailable to them could vastly improve the process of therapeutic intervention and drug development.”
Under terms of the project, potentially worth $4.1 million for up to five years, funded through the National Institutes of Health Common Fund, scientists at RTI will form the Metabolite Standards Synthesis Center. The center, led by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, is intended to increase the national capacity for metabolomics services to basic, translational and clinical investigators.
As part of the project, RTI scientists will synthesize metabolites that are nominated by researchers and approved by a selection committee. The team will characterize candidate metabolites by spectral and chromatographic methods, and provide data of physical properties, stability and analytical methods, which will be provided to the data repository for the use of researchers.
The compounds will be provided to researchers for direct comparison to tissue samples being used by scientist to identify and detect diseases.