New chemical biology method aims at more specific disease diagnoses

2022-06-29

Daniel Globisch, associate professor and former SciLifeLab fellow at Uppsala University, has
developed a new method for more specific diagnoses of metabolic diseases.
Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

Are there more effective ways to detect diseases in biological samples than the standard ones today? A new method developed at Uppsala University seems promising. Daniel Globisch, an associate professor and former SciLifeLab fellow at Uppsala University, believes his method will be a tool for future clinical use.

Imagine very small magnetic beads that can be added to biological samples to detect diseases. Imagine further that these beads have the ability to capture new information from large quantities of data, and that way achieve far better specificity than the standard analytical methods we use today.

These chemoselective probes are at the core of Daniel Globisch’s new analytical method, developed at Uppsala University where he is an associate professor.

“The main focus lies in investigating how the microbiome impacts human physiology and disease development. We want to investigate it to discover unknown biomarkers and bioactive metabolites that can serve as key molecules for future diagnostics or new treatment options,” says Daniel Globisch.

Superior level of sensitivity

The idea is to create a better understanding of how diseases develop and, through higher sensitivity, increase the possibility of making diagnosis in the first place. The method can be applied to all kinds of metabolic diseases, for instance different types of cancer.

“Standard methods available today only cover about 5-10 percent of all metabolites in a test sample, that is, the residual products that are created in the body as a result of unknown biological processes in food or the body’s microbiome. With this method we reach molecules in the remaining 90 percent,“ explains Daniel Globisch.

From research to business

His method can be used in a variety of research fields which utilize metabolomics analysis, and the idea is to commercialize the method in the hope that it will become a widely-applied clinical tool. Daniel Globisch has started a company to bring his method to the market and has already begun to offer the method as a service for his first customers.

It has been an exciting journey so far, Daniel Globisch recalls, with highly appreciated support from UU Innovation.

“For me it is the transition from the initial idea to the development of the current method that we have published and established. Along the way, I have had support from very talented laboratory colleagues who have helped drive my idea to realization. The scientific discussions around overcoming obstacles and planning next steps have been very enjoyable and are the main reason that I have stayed in academia.”

FACTS

  • Daniel Globisch has developed a new analytical method for biological samples, where the addition of chemoselective probes facilitates the gathering of more specific information than is possible with standard analysis methods.
  • The method enables more accurate diagnoses of diseases and also contributes to better understanding of disease development.
  • The method can be applied to all kinds of metabolic diseases, for instance different types of cancer.

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Last modified: 2022-07-05