The United Kingdom is preparing to convert the London 2012 Olympics anti-doping center, which conducted more than 6,000 drug tests on athletes during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, into a facility that could help revolutionize 21st century health care. That new facility — the world’s first national “phenome center” — is the topic of a story in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN). C&EN is the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.
Alex Scott, C&EN senior editor in London, explains that a phenome describes a person’s chemistry — all of the molecules in the urine, tissue and blood that result from a person’s genetic makeup and environmental influences. Experts say measuring the phenome can provide scientists with more information about the causes of disease, and this could help significantly change the way a wide range of diseases is treated.
The article describes key objectives for the project. One is to create the world’s first publicly and privately funded labs that will combine analytical science, epidemiology and clinical expertise to better understand the causes, mechanisms, treatment and monitoring of disease. Others are to develop the next generation of metabolic testing methods and make the U.K. the world leader in analytical chemistry with the first in a series of phenome centers that will share data from national populations.