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Michelle Saoi and Philip Britz-McKibbin (2021)

New Advances in Tissue Metabolomics: A Review

Metabolites, 11(10):672.

Metabolomics offers a hypothesis-generating approach for biomarker discovery in clinical medicine while also providing better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of chronic diseases. Clinical metabolomic studies largely rely on human biofluids (e.g., plasma, urine) as a more convenient specimen type for investigation. However, biofluids are non-organ specific reflecting complex biochemical processes throughout the body, which may complicate biochemical interpretations. For these reasons, tissue metabolomic studies enable deeper insights into aberrant metabolism occurring at the direct site of disease pathogenesis. This review highlights new advances in metabolomics for ex vivo analysis, as well as in situ imaging of tissue specimens, including diverse tissue types from animal models and human participants. Moreover, we discuss key pre-analytical and post-analytical challenges in tissue metabolomics for robust biomarker discovery with a focus on new methodological advances introduced over the past six years, including innovative clinical applications for improved screening, diagnostic testing, and therapeutic interventions for cancer.

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