"The previous model of human metabolism was a generic one, which did not describe how the metabolism of different tissues work," says Shlomi. "Now we can provide large scale descriptions as to how tissues metabolize different compounds and how metabolism actually works in individual organs like the heart, liver, brain or pancreas."
Towards Computerized Disease Diagnosis
Building on these results, the Tel Aviv University team are now working on developing tools for the discovery of biomarkers (metabolites that can be measured in the blood and urine) that are associated with different diseases. The team is developing computational methods for identifying novel metabolic biomarkers that may be used for diagnosing an array of genetic metabolic disorders (including such disorders with relatively higher incidence in Jewish populations such as G6PD and Tay-Sachs).
More generally, this basic research provides scientists with important knowledge of the metabolism of different body tissues and organs. The consequences of this endeavour and its basic motivation is to help drug developers as they explore new drug targets. The current research is at the basic science level, but such research may lead to unforeseen applications.
Today's cancer-fighting drugs, for example, kill both cancerous and healthy cells. When more becomes known about the metabolism of cancer in different tissues via a combination of experimental and computational studies of the kind described in the research, then hopefully more effective and targeted drugs could be built, says Prof. Ruppin.
|Contact: George Hunka|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University