Biomarkers

A biomarker is a measurable indicator of a specific biological state, usually one relevant to the risk, presence, severity, prognosis, or predicted therapeutic response of disease. Although physical traits or physiological metrics like height or blood pressure are biomarkers, the term is now typically shorthand for “molecular biomarker.” Molecular biomarkers can themselves take many forms, and as a consequence there are many strategies available for their discovery and validation. Transcriptional profiling, DNA methylation studies and kinase sequencing have shown strong potential for biomarker discovery in cancer; metabolomics approaches are beginning to show promise for metabolic disease, drug and toxicity studies. The protein domain is likely the most directly and ubiquitously affected in disease, response and recovery, however, and protein biomarkers hold special promise for a wide range of clinical and biomedical applications:

  • Disease screening / early detection
  • Diagnosis
  • Prognosis
  • Disease activity monitoring
  • Targeting molecular therapeutics
  • Assessing therapeutic response
  • Defining molecular taxonomies of patients and diseases
  • Surrogate endpoints in early-phase drug trials

The biomarker group of the Broad Proteomics Platform has over the past five years proposed, developed, tested, and implemented all of the components of a coherent and comprehensive pipeline for protein biomarker discovery and validation. The chief activities of the biomarker group are candidate discovery, qualification, and verification, research assay optimization.  We generally do not engage in clinical validation and commercialization but are open to partnerships with the diagnostics industry.

This novel biomarker development pipeline is currently deployed in the biomarker group to address a variety of important unmet diagnostic needs, with funded projects in the following areas:

  • Cancer (breast, lung and ovarian)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Infectious disease (tuberculosis, HIV, and pediatric febrile illness)