Building the metabolomic toolbox – enabling rapid disease diagnosis through metabolic profiling

PROJECT LEAD(S)/CO-LEAD(S) David Wishart (University of Alberta)
COMPETITION/ FUNDING OPPORTUNITY Genome Canada Competition II – Applied Human Health
PROJECT START DATE February 15, 2005
PROJECT END DATE March 31, 2008

This proposal aims to build on a number of unique Canadian research strengths and technologies in metabolic profiling to create: 1) comprehensive metabolite databases, and 2) new software and/or analytical tools to facilitate the rapid and inexpensive profiling of metabolites for disease diagnosis and management. Specifically, using a combination of analytical methods that includes mass spectrometry (MS), chromatography, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, the team intends to be the first group in the world to “complete” the human metabolome. This large-scale and integrated effort will involve the identification and quantification of many known and hundreds of unknown metabolites in both human tissues and fluids. Building on this effort, and the very valuable data it will provide, this project will partner with one of the world’s leading metabolomics companies (Chenomx Inc.) to help design, prototype, and produce both hardware and software to facilitate the creation of a clinical metabolomics instrument. This refrigerator-sized clinical NMR system will be designed to perform rapid, inexpensive, and comprehensive metabolic profiling in support of disease diagnosis or prediction, toxicological testing, and personalized healthcare. Such an instrument would represent a revolutionary advancement in medical diagnostic testing and will allow reduced time and expense for select medical tests.

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