Numares, Regensburg, Germany, and Mayo Clinic Laboratories are collaborating to develop clinical diagnostics that will measure clusters of risk factors, as distinct from individual biomarkers. The unique testing method will use nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology, and will be focused first on cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and liver cancer—among a few other specific diseases.
“We hope to exchange knowledge and investigate these new diagnostic paths to improve patient lives by leveraging NMR spectroscopy to quantify patient metabolites and diagnose certain conditions,” says Volker Pfahlert, PhD, CEO of Numares.
The partners’ envisioned solutions will measure and analyze metabolic ‘constellations’—clusters of risk factors—in test results derived from clinical diagnostics performed on patient samples, typically blood or urine. Such solutions can be used to monitor a patient’s overall health, helping to diagnose, treat, or prevent diseases.
The Numares approach uses artificial intelligence to analyze data from clinical studies and machine learning to distinguish which metabolite constellations are meaningful, and then models mathematical equations for the interpretation of the biomarker sets.
“Our unique approach is similar to finding constellations in the sky,” notes Pfahlert. “The medical information is not so much about the brightness and color of each individual star as it is about the position of each star in relation to the others.”
The first test Mayo Clinic Laboratories will offer using Numares’ technology is the measurement of lipoproteins. “Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol—the notorious ‘bad’ cholesterol associated with heart disease—is contained within LDL particles which are a better indicator of risk,” explains Jeffrey Meeusen, PhD, codirector of cardiovascular laboratory medicine at Mayo Clinic. “The Numares lipoprotein method measures both LDL cholesterol and LDL particles.”
“The approach of identifying ‘constellations’ of metabolites for diagnostics will play an important role in the future of precision medicine,” adds Allan Jaffe, MD, division chair for clinical core laboratory services in the department of laboratory medicine and pathology at Mayo Clinic. “Collaborating with Numares, we want to convert the diagnostic capability of these metabolic constellations into clinical tests that will help patients who have undiagnosed diseases.”