Article

Targeted correction of metabolic disorders

Metabolic disorders can produce the most varied conditions, such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis or hypertension. In their effort to develop drugs against such widespread diseases, Roche researchers are looking at the interplay between the various metabolic pathways and designing targeted interventions at the key points in the disease mechanisms.

Sensitive diagnostic tests permit pinpointed investigation of each metabolic step and lay the foundation for effective therapy.

 

Vitamin D test

 

The Roche vitamin D test enables doctors to determine the exact level of this essential vitamin in their patients. More and more doctors are making use of this resource, given that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to the development of various diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, muscle weakness and Alzheimer’s.

Vitamin D is produced in the skin in response to irradiation with UV-B light. The body then converts the vitamin D into the hormone calcitriol which regulates the expression of several hundred genes and thus affects many different metabolic pathways.

Designing the vitamin D test was a major challenge for the Penzberg test development team. For one thing, vitamin D does not dissolve readily in water, which can make it difficult for the analytical chemist to handle. For another, it is attached to a binding protein, and it can be difficult to prize the two apart.

The developers managed to overcome these obstacles using some novel methods. They produced a test that detects early vitamin D deficiency and thus prevents complications.

This breakthrough was made possible by Penzberg protein know-how and we hope that it will help future patients with central nervous system diseases.

Christian Vogl, Roche Penzberg, Germany