A Japanese group has come up with an alternative method of determining internal body time by constructing what it calls a molecular timetable based on levels in blood samples of more than 50 metabolites — hormones and amino acids — that result from biological activity. The researchers established a molecular timetable based on samples from three subjects and validated it using the conventional melatonin measurement. They then used that timetable to determine the internal body times of other subjects by checking the levels of the metabolites in just two blood samples from each subject per day.
Having such a timetable could allow doctors to synchronize drug delivery to internal body time, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Usually personalized medicine is focusing on genetic differences, but there are also temporal differences [among patients]. That will be the next step in personalized medicine,” says systems biologist Hiroki Ueda of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, who heads the research group.