Imperial launches second phenome centre


Imperial College London, UK, is launching a new clinical phenome centre at St Mary's Hospital London, to analyse the phenotypes of patient's samples. The phenotype includes all external products of genes and environment, from hair colour to chemical markers of disease states. The centre will use molecular analysis to help in disease diagnostics, as well as helping doctors choose the best treatment to use based on patients' individual metabolic and physiological characteristics.

The new centre is jointly funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Imperial Biomedical Research Centre and industrial partners including Waters and Bruker. It will be equipped with three nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers and six mass spectrometers that are intended to give surgeons useful diagnostic information in real time. A tool currently being developed includes the 'intelligent knife', an electrically heated surgical blade that also analyses the smoke produced to give detailed information about the disease state of the tissue being cut.

This is the second phenome centre to be launched this year, after the announcement that the lab set up to catch drug cheats during the Olympic games in London this year was to be repurposed to identify metabolites linked to illnesses.


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