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RTI Forming Metabolomics Center

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – RTI International has received a contract from the National Institutes of Health Common Fund to create a metabolomics center where metabolites will be synthesized for use by researchers, the nonprofit research institute said today.

The five-year contract for up to $4.1 million will go toward setting up the Metabolite Standards Synthesis Center where RTI scientists will chemically synthesize metabolites that will be made available to the scientific community as a standard of comparison to help identify and detect diseases.

The center, which will be led by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, "is intended to increase the national capacity for metabolomics services to basic, translational, and clinical investigators," RTI said.

Metabolites that have been nominated by researchers and approved by a selection committee will be synthesized by RTI scientists. Spectral and chromatographic methods will be used to characterize candidate metabolites, and RTI will provide data on physical properties, stability, and analytical methods for use by researchers.

The compounds, RTI said, will be provided so that researchers can compare them with tissue samples to identify and detect diseases.

"With this project, we want to enable research that can contribute to earlier and reliable diagnosis and facilitate a better understanding of diseases," Herbert Seltzman, a senior research scientist at RTI and the project’s director, said in a statement. "Providing scientists with known, postulated, or isotopically labeled compounds that are otherwise unavailable to them could vastly improve the process of therapeutic intervention and drug development."

RTI was recently awarded $5.3 million by NHGRI to expand its web-based tool for the use of phenotypic data in research.