Biospectroscopy Based Metabolomics:
The Company’s technology platform is based on the confluence of two scientific disciplines:
Biospectroscopy, the application of different forms of spectral analysis in human biology that is used to identify, quantify and validate proteomic and molecular biomarkers. For more information on various methods of spectral analysis, proceed to Instrumentation
Metabolomics, the science that systematically examines and integrates the dynamic interplay between multiple, small molecule biomarkers that are uniquely characteristic of complex biological functions in health and disease.
These methodologies are used in concert to quantify a sample’s molecular biomarker makeup and then convert that data into a novel “metabolomic profile” or “fingerprint”. Each profile is analyzed using proprietary bioinformatics and chemometrics to determine the probability of normal cellular function versus the predisposition to disease.
An In-depth Look into the Field of Metabolomics
Metabolomics is a form of systems biology that provides a biochemical “snapshot” of the small molecule inventory produced during cellular metabolism and, thus, reflects the physiological status of an organism. Multi-parametric metabolic responses of living systems to pathophysiological stimuli or genetic modifications are quantified and used in diagnosing these system perturbations.
As cell metabolism entails multiple small-molecule metabolites, measuring and identifying individual analytes often results in incomplete, bias diagnostic “pictures”. The true diagnostic picture can be obtained by measuring multiple small molecule metabolites simultaneously as biomarkers. From these metabolomic profiles, biomarker interrelationships and changes can be extrapolated, resulting in a complete, objective analysis of the metabolic process.
Metabolomics has emerged as an important field in the chemistry of biological systems. While analogous “omics” fields, genomics and proteomics, have received considerable attention in recent years, focus has shifted towards metabolomics with the completion of the human metabolome. The complete set of the human metabolome consists of (approximately) 2,500 small-molecule metabolites (such as metabolic intermediates, hormones and other signaling molecules, and secondary metabolites) to be found within a biological sample. The chronological diagram depicting this evolution of the “omics” is given below.
Understanding Metabolomics: The Monet Analogy
A non-scientific analogy of the field of metabolomics can be appreciated by comparing it to the impressionist style of Monet and other artists of that period. If one looks closely at any one section of Monet’s paintings, we can see that each of his brush strokes provides important, discrete information: unique color, hue, texture, size and directionality, all interacting in a novel way. These component bits of information work in concert to create an image or picture on canvas. While each individual piece of information is interesting in its own right, it isn’t until we step back and look at the canvas in its entirety that the masterpiece is revealed.
The scenario is the same with metabolomics. We can identify and measure several separate individual bits of information – small molecules or compounds – as biomarkers in a biological sample but we don’t know which ones are capable of giving us the true “diagnostic picture” of the patient’s condition. However, if we are able to view several component biomarkers simultaneously, and then integrate the full complexity of the interrelationships of those biomarkers, we get a much clearer, more accurate “metabolomic picture” of the underlying biology of the specimen in terms of health and pathology.