Jason Winnike, Study Director at Metabolon Shares Insights from the Launch of its Oxysterol Targeted Panel
Jason shared his views on the launch of Metabolon, Inc.’s new Oxysterols Targeted Panel, highlighting its key features
He told how the panel measures 12 oxysterols and related sterols of biological significance to identify biomarkers for the prediction and early detection of cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer
The interview gives a profound understanding of how Metabolon’s mission to deliver biochemical data and insights that expand and accelerate the impact of life sciences research
Smriti: To begin with, please highlight the characteristics of the Metabolon Oxysterols Targeted Panel.
Jason Winnike: The Metabolon Oxysterol Targeted Panel provides absolute quantification for 12 oxysterols and related sterols of biological significance using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) technology. The twelve compounds are 24-hydroxycholesterol, 27-hydroxycholesterol, desmosterol, 7-dehydrocholesterol, 8-dehydrocholesterol, lathosterol, 5α,6α-epoxycholesterol, 4β-hydroxycholesterol, cholesterol, lanosterol, 5α,6β-dihydroxycholestanol, and 7α,27-dihydroxycholesterol.
Smriti: Brief our readers on what are Oxysterols and how they help in normal biological functions. For which diseases can Oxysterols act as a significant biomarker?
Jason Winnike: Oxysterols are intermediates in the development of bile acids, steroid hormones, vitamin D3, and additionally are bioactive markers of inflammation and other disease states. Oxysterols have the potential to influence many conditions from cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Smriti: Please discuss how the quantitation of Oxysterols by Metabolon’s Oxysterols Targeted Panel advances the understanding of inflammation and disease pathogenesis.
Jason Winnike: A thorough understanding of a disease phenotype is crucial for effective treatment, and metabolomic research into the possible causes of a disease is the next step in the fight for disease prevention. Many oxysterols are bioactive molecules that regulate or modulate certain pathways and responses, such as sterol synthesis, inflammatory and immune responses, as well as developmental processes. Because of this bioactivity, oxysterols have been associated with disease pathogenesis, such as cancer, atherosclerosis, and neurodegenerative diseases; however, the mechanism of action of many oxysterols is not well understood. With neurodegenerative diseases, for instance, there are very high levels of cholesterol in the brain, it’s the organ with the highest levels, and it’s locally synthesized. Thus, oxysterol levels in the blood can be used as biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease. Additionally, cholesterol and oxysterols can alter the action of cell membrane receptors, and some neurological diseases are caused by the effects of aberrant cholesterol and oxysterol metabolism on cell membrane receptors, such as with Smith-Lemli-Optiz syndrome. So, neurodegeneration can be assessed systemically with sterol or oxysterol biomarkers, but additionally, mechanistic insights into certain neurological disorders associated with deranged cholesterol and oxysterol metabolism may be gained due to their membrane receptor modulating activities.
Smriti: As mentioned, metabolomics is an incredibly powerful tool for a thorough understanding of a disease phenotype, tell us more about how metabolomics help in effective disease prevention, monitoring, and treatment.
Jason Winnike: Metabolon’s validated method of measuring oxysterols in human plasma samples helps discern whether oxysterols are a significant biomarker for a disease state or inflammatory response within a particular study and whether their detection can potentially be used as a precursor for medical screening. Beyond the Oxysterols Targeted Panel, Metabolon has quite a few other targeted panels that are well suited for disease monitoring, such as the Impaired Glucose Tolerance Targeted Panel and the Insulin Resistance Targeted Panel, to assess glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, the Indoles/Uremic Toxicity Targeted Panel and Creatinine Single Analyte Assay, to assess kidney function, for instance.
Additionally, the Metabolon Discovery: Global Panel provides a high-fidelity and reproducible analysis which can be used to identify biomarkers and reveal changes in key biological pathways. Thus, global metabolomics is an ideal tool for discovering metabolic signatures of various disorders. Our unmatched chemical library can identify many classes of metabolites and metabolic pathways, offering the opportunity to profile thousands of biochemicals in an unbiased fashion, which can enable the discovery of novel disease mechanisms and biomarkers. Through casting such a wide net, these insights can be translated into actionable biomarkers through follow-on targeted quantitative panels.
Smriti: Is Metabolon looking for any collaboration to make Oxysterols Targeted Panel more accessible to its customers?
Jason Winnike: Metabolon is not pursuing any collaborations at the moment.
Smriti: Lastly, would you like to mention any other metabolomics solution that the company is planning to launch in near future?
Jason Winnike: The Metabolon Oxysterols Targeted Panel is the first of several new quantitative panels for researchers studying inflammation. We will be launching additional panels in early 2023.
About the Author:
Dr. Winnike joined Metabolon in 2020 and is a Senior Study Director in the Department of Discovery and Translational Sciences, where he serves as a scientific and technical liaison for Metabolon’s academic and government clients. Jason graduated from the University of North Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science. He received his Doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at UNC and North Carolina State University. After graduating, he worked as a postdoctoral associate at the University of Louisville using stable isotope metabolomics to study the effects of selenium-containing compounds on lung cancer cell lines.
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Smriti is a Senior Editor at PharmaShots. She is curious and very passionate about recent updates and developments in the life sciences industry. She covers Biopharma, MedTech, and Digital health segments along with different reports at PharmaShots. She can be contacted at [email protected].