Metabolomics is the new "Omics" that focuses on characterizing low molecular weight compounds generated by metabolism. There are more than 40,000 metabolites known to be in the human body. The small molecules (‘metabolites’) that appear in a person’s urine provide very useful information about a patient's current health.

Our advantages

Many researchers have successfully identified metabolomic-based signatures that may potentially be used as diagnostics but the challenge is around cost. Often these metabolomic-based signatures are comprised of a large number (60-90) of metabolites that makes it cost-prohibitive to incorporate into a large population-based screening tool. The innovation that MTI developed is the ability to reduce this signature (using a combination of machine learning and statistical analysis) to small number of metabolites yet maintain high accuracy to be useful as a diagnostic screening tool.

Metabolomics is a new science and research teams are actively engaged in developing new methods to develop highly sensitive low metabolite number panels. The advantage that MTI had early on is its clinical connection and its access, via a clinical trial, to a large clinical sample repository that is well-characterized.

MTI has also formed several important collaborations to further enhance on their current technology. For metabolomic analysis, MTI has ongoing collaborative relationship with The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC) and National High Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Centre (NANUC). MTI is actively working with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) to aid in the development of the diagnostic algorithm. Amii is providing MTI with an expertise in machine learning techniques that are designed to handle large and complex data sets.

MTI has also forged international relationship with BGI-Shenzhen. BGI is a world leader in genetic sequencing with a strong background in the ‘omics’ sciences. BGI and MTI have completed a joint project in which the metabolomic profile of colon cancer and adenomatous polyps in the Chinese population were compared to MTI’s existing metabolomic profiles.