Health

Metabolics and precision medicine

Metabolomics is a scientific area included among the so-called omic sciences, which is dedicated to the detection, quantification and large-scale analysis of low molecular weight molecules (metabolites) in biological media. Although metabolomics, alone or in combination with other omics data, has already demonstrated its impact in the classification and selection of patients within the framework of research projects, there is still a long way to go in terms of translating this approach into clinical practice. This is especially true from the perspective of being applied to personalized or precision medicine, which aims to classify patients according to their risk of developing diseases, and adapt medical treatments according to individual characteristics to improve their effectiveness and limit its toxicity. In fact, precision medicine must: i) provide information on disease mechanisms, ii) make the blood collection process a diagnostic window to know the health and disease of an individual, iii) stratify complex diseases into subtypes, iv) provide new approaches for the discovery of new drugs and v) finally generate metrics to assess the personal well-being of the patient. This approach is particularly relevant in the field of chronic and non-communicable diseases, for which it is often difficult to understand the transition from the healthy state to the disease state. The University of Almería is currently developing research projects in which hospital centers are involved where, for example, it is intended to predict metastatic colorectal cancer in advance, or improve the rate of embryo implantation that would reduce the number of in vitro fertilization cycles. to which couples seeking offspring submit. The small concentration variations of the metabolites that often discriminate between the pathological or control group, or select the best transferable embryo, in many of these studies represent a limitation for their clinical translation, which forces us to combine the fields of chemistry, biology and data science in a different way than conventional. Without a doubt, the field of metabolomics is at its dawn, although its transfer to the hospital world is beginning to be closer than ever.

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