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News archive - September 2012

Olympic anti-doping facilities put to good use

Olympic anti-doping facilities put to good use

THE LONDON 2012 anti-doping facilities are to be developed into a world-class resource that could have a dramatic impact on healthcare. The MRC-NIHR Phenome Centre will use the cutting edge facilities developed for the Olympics to help researchers explore the characteristics of disease in order to develop new drugs and treatments for patients.

A phenome describes a person’s chemistry - all the molecules in their blood, urine or tissues - that are the result of their genetics and their lifestyle. This mixture of molecules is changing all the time and is influenced by factors such as diet, environment and even stress levels. It is linked to how a person responds to disease or to treatments such as drugs.

Researchers at the Centre will investigate the phenome patterns of patients and volunteers by analysing samples - usually blood or urine - very rapidly and on an unprecedented scale. This will help them to discover new ‘biomarkers’ to explain why one individual or population may be more susceptible to a disease than another. This knowledge will aid scientists in finding new, safer and more targeted treatments.

The Centre will be funded over five years by an investment of £5m each from the Medical Research Council and the Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and will build on the equipment and expertise of the London 2012 anti-doping facilities provided by GlaxoSmithKline and operated by King’s College London.

The new facility will be led by a collaboration of academic partners, led by Imperial College London, and the suppliers of nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry equipment, Bruker and Waters Corporation.

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