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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

DCEG Co-hosts Scientific Workshop on the Uses of Metabolomics in an Epidemiologic Consortium

Joshua Sampson and Steven Moore 

In October 2014, DCEG partnered with the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program in NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences to host a two-day workshop titled “Think Tank on Metabolomics and Prospective Cohorts: How to Leverage Resources.” Metabolomics is an emerging technique to assess hundreds to thousands of small molecule metabolites simultaneously in a biofluid like blood or urine. The approach is being incorporated into many epidemiologic studies. The participants at the workshop included the leaders of more than 20 cohorts currently using metabolomics.

The meeting focused on how to accelerate scientific progress in this new research area by working together and leveraging existing resources. During the two days, participants presented their ongoing work in epidemiologic studies using mass-spectrometry and NMR-based metabolomics, highlighting findings for health outcomes such as cancer, heart-disease, and diabetes, and also for host factors like diet/nutrition and genetic susceptibility factors. Further discussions focused on methodological and statistical considerations for metabolomics analyses.

At the end of the workshop, participants identified areas of high scientific priority and agreed to pursue these common interests jointly, using a pooled analytic approach. Steering committee members from DCEG included Steven Moore, Ph.D., and Joshua Sampson, Ph.D.