Despite the huge impact cardiovascular disease (CVD) has on everyday lives, we still do not understand why it develops and progresses differently depending on the person. Current preventatives and treatments for CVD do not work for everyone because traditional research is based on large population groups, resulting in a “one size fits all” approach. But every heart is unique. Every heart needs personalised treatment.
We need to move beyond the “one size fits all” approach to look at how each person is uniquely affected by CVD and to understand what happens in CVD at the cellular level in each individual. Treatment needs to consider the unique biological needs of each patient, but that is currently not possible.
In an Australian first, HRI is establishing a cutting-edge Fluxomics Facility, led by Dr Sergey Tumanov, to identify and explore the cellular changes that are unique to each person’s CVD.
Fluxomics is an emerging technology that enables a holistic, big-picture view of cells. Current technologies can only provide static “snapshots” of what is happening in a cell at any given moment. Fluxomics combines current approaches to provide “video”, showing how the cell changes over time. This is particularly important for understanding diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels, which constantly change as the heart beats and the body moves.
The Fluxomics Facility currently has the capacity to screen for changes in molecules that are known to be important for CVD. To take the next leap in our understanding of CVD, we need to analyse the rate of turnover of these molecules (metabolic flux) through the linked chemical reactions occurring within cells (metabolic pathways).
With fluxomics, we could take a patient sample and run it through a multi-layer system to understand what is happening within their cells, to generate a ‘chemical fingerprint’ for that individual. The supporting statistics will allow for data to be extrapolated forwards to predict the likelihood of developing CVD, and what treatments will work best. Through fluxomics, we will be able to design better treatments because we will have deeper knowledge of how and why CVD develops, and how and why medicines do and don’t work.