Recon 2 modeling may help tailor treatments for patients with metabolic diseases, cancer

by John Pastor

An international team of researchers, including an investigator with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, has produced what may be the most comprehensive computer model of human metabolism yet developed.

The discovery, detailed Sunday (March 3, 2013) in the journal Nature Biotechnology, advances understanding of human metabolism in health and disease. Called Recon 2, the model builds and improves upon earlier-generation metabolic reconstruction systems and may be useful for finding biomarkers of , such as glycogen storage disorder, as well as identifying cancer drug targets and predicting unwanted drug side effects.

A variety of models and approaches have co-existed with the common goal of reconstructing human metabolism, but this one connects the dots, adding metabolic information from a variety of databases including content from the DrugBank database, which details the reactions caused by experimental and FDA-approved drugs to individual enzymes and reactions typical of the .

"This is important because we are finally mapping the links between the and metabolism," said Pedro Mendes, a computational systems biologist and leader of the Biochemical Networks Modeling Group at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. "The results provide a framework that will lead to a better understanding of how an individual's lifestyle, such as diet, or a particular drug they may require, is likely to affect them according to their specific . The model takes us an important step closer to personalized medicine, where treatments will be tailored according to the patient's genetic and metabolic information."

Scientists from Blacksburg, Va.; Manchester, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Reykjavik, San Diego, Berlin and others mapped 65 human cell types and more than 1,000 enzymes that are known .

With this new map, researchers will be able to deepen their understanding of the role plays in health and disease.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study maps human metabolism in health and disease

Mar 03, 2013

Scientists have produced an instruction manual for the human genome that provides a framework to better understand the relationship between an individual's genetic make-up and their lifestyle.

Toward a systems biology map of iron metabolism

Apr 28, 2009

Scientists at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech have taken the first steps toward constructing a ...

Cancer-metabolism link runs deep in humans

Jul 21, 2010

Eighty years ago, the medical establishment believed cancer was caused by a dysfunction of metabolism, but the idea went out of vogue. Now, scientists are again looking at metabolism and its role in cancer and other common ...

Painting a 'bullseye' on cancer cells

Aug 22, 2011

Scientists are constantly on the hunt for treatments that can selectively target cancer cells, leaving other cells in our bodies unharmed. Now, Prof. Eytan Ruppin of Tel Aviv University's Blavatnik School of Computer Science ...

Recommended for you

Owls and lizards lend their ears for human hearing research

2 hours ago

Lizards and owls are some of the animal species that can help us to better understand hearing loss in humans, according to new research out of York University's Department of Physics & Astronomy in the Faculty of Science.

Team finds key to tuberculosis resistance

7 hours ago

The cascade of events leading to bacterial infection and the immune response is mostly understood. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the immune response to the bacteria that causes tuberculosis ...

Mutation may cause early loss of sperm supply

8 hours ago

Brown University biologists have determined how the loss of a gene in male mice results in the premature exhaustion of their fertility. Their fundamental new insights into the complex process of sperm generation ...

No more bleeding for 'iron overload' patients?

10 hours ago

Hemochromatosis (HH) is the most common genetic disorder in the western world, and yet is barely known. Only in the US 1 in 9 people carry the mutation (although not necessarily the disease).

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.