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SRI International Establishes Metabolite Standards Synthesis Center for National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Date:1/6/2014

MENLO PARK, Calif., Jan. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- SRI International has received a $4.5 million contract from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, to establish a Metabolite Standards Synthesis Center to prepare molecules for researchers to use in the emerging field of metabolomics.

Like genomics and proteomics, which study the collective characterization and quantification of biological molecules in an organism, metabolomics is the study of all of the chemical reactions that take place in the body to sustain life. It's like taking a chemical snapshot of the physiology of a cell or entire body.

Enormous amounts of information can be gleaned from comprehensively characterizing thousands of the chemical byproducts of metabolism called metabolites. Metabolomics offers new ways for researchers to detect disease, monitor disease progression and response to therapy, stratify patients based on biochemical profiles, and identify new biomarkers and drug targets. A major roadblock in metabolomics research, however, is that researchers often do not have access to the metabolite standards they need to confirm and quantify their results.

"Currently, more than half of all human metabolites are unavailable, and many metabolites have never been synthesized or their structures have only been speculated, and therefore these important molecules are not available to researchers," said Mary Tanga, Ph.D., director of the Center for Chemical Biology in SRI Biosciences and principal investigator of SRI's Metabolite Standards Synthesis Center. "Researchers can pursue the answers to important questions if they actually have the compounds. The reference standards that SRI scientists will synthesize are critical to advances in metabolomics."

SRI's Metabolite Standards Synthesis Center will begin to fill the gap by creating a library of thousands of metabolites that will be made availa
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SOURCE SRI International
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