Proteomics and Metabolomics in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Yunki Yau; Rupert W Leong; Ming Zeng; Valerie C Wasinger


J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013;28(7):1076-1086. 

In This Article


Proteomic and metabolomic contributions to IBD pathophysiological research have resulted in significant findings that have improved our understanding of these difficult diseases, but the majority of clinical tools that we use today have not come from the high-throughput, hypothesis-free methodologies as anticipated.

Challenges are both scientific and practical. Proteomics and metabolomics are bioscientific fields still very much in their infancy, albeit advancing at extraordinary rates. It has only been 12 years since Dr John Fenn was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for the development of electrospray ionization—a fundamental MS technique that is at the core of proteomics capability, and clinicians and bioanalytical scientists are still grappling to harness the unprecedented sensitivity, selectivity, and coverage, of high-throughput technology for human benefit.

Pragmatically, the translation from bench to bedside is a very slow process—often taking a decade or more for discovery, validation, clinical trial, and approval, at huge expenses that the majority of research scientists and clinicians are unable to afford without consortia or commercial involvement. With the participation of intellectual property arms within universities, where the majority of discovery-based research is carried out, this is improving.

Ultimately, the onerous is on us clinicians and scientists to contemplate the biology of our questions, and conceive innovative practical and scientific means to produce better outcomes for those suffering from the IBDs. The proteomic and metabolomic toolbox will no doubt be a part of this future.