Metabolomics as a tool for personalizing medicine: 2012 update

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Numerous factors in conjunction with an individual's genetic make up will determine predisposition to disease, adverse or beneficial effects of drug treatment or therapy, and disease progression. A major limitation of current clinical measures is that the disease phenotype, which is comprised of the genotype and other environmental factors, is underestimated. Rather, each disease is treated similarly even though the disease process is highly complex. Methods that evaluate the interaction of genotype and environmental factors would likely be a better indicator of patients' response to medical treatments. The omics technologies, specifically metabolomics, will play a major role in the movement towards personalized medicine. Metabolomics is phenotype driven and should provide better clinical biomarkers. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that associations between genetic variants and downstream metabolite changes can provide a unique description of an individual's genotype and phenotype, which will further enhance the movement towards personalized medicine.

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