LONDON—The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), both funded by the U.K. government, have arranged to take over the Olympics antidoping laboratory. They plan to transform it into a national center dedicated to metabolic phenotyping, a field that examines blood, urine, and tissues for the thousands of molecules produced by the body's chemical reactions, with the aim of linking them up to diseases.
"There is nothing like this anywhere in the world," says Jeremy Nicholson, head of the surgery and cancer department at Imperial College London and a pioneer of the emerging field, who will become the center's first research director.
The state-of-the-art antidoping laboratory, the size of seven tennis courts, was originally a partnership between drug control scientists at King's College London and the British pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline. It was going to be closed at the end of the Olympics, says Jonathan Weber, research director for medicine at Imperial College London, who helped coordinate the proposal. The switchover to the MRC-NIHR Phenome Centre, as it will be known, is slated for early October, and the center will open for business in January.