Clinical OMICS

MAY-JUN 2019

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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18 Clinical OMICs May/June 2019 www.clinicalomics.com Adrian Weinbrecht / Getty Images T he possibility of metabolomics playing a role in cancer diagnostics and treat- ment seems, to many metabolomicists, a question of when rather than if. After all, metabolomics is a powerful platform to measure the endpoint of human physiology—a direct readout of physiological changes—and is easily sampled in blood. Despite its usefulness, there are multiple hurdles on its path to clinical appli- cation for oncology. But, as more people realize the doors that metabolomics can open for cancer research and treatment applications, getting over those hurdles seems more manageable than ever. Metabolomics is loosely (and insufficiently) defined as the study of metabolism. However, Shankar Subramaniam Ph.D., chair and professor of bioen- gineering at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, told Clinical OMICs that there are many, expansive questions in the field. Some researchers are interested in identifying markers in the blood that are indicative of various tumors—using metabolites as yardsticks for cancer. For example, the increase of proline, threonine, aspartic acid, betaine, and dimethyl glycine in serum of patients with colorectal tumors. Or, the increase of linoleic acid and choline in lung cancer. Caveats abound, however, as many markers are late markers and they are more correlative than causal (see p. 21 "Tools of the Trade"). A mechanistic origin of altered metabolism in tumors is also an area of interest. Most tumors are in a hypoxic environment and the cells need to find alternate sources Julianna LeMieux, Ph.D. Senior Editor Metabolomics' Impact in Cancer Treatments May be Just Around the Corner Not If. When Monty Rakusen / Cultura / Getty Images "We need to try to get a metabolic map." —Shankar Subramaniam, Ph.D. UCSD School of Medicine

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