Use of novel diagnostic biomarkers
Biomarkers (short for biological markers) are objective measurments used to perform clinical assessments and to predict health states in individuals. At the basic level, they include blood pressure and resting heart rate.
The ongoing discovery of biomarkers which can indicate the likelihood of developing a particular disease - or even rapidly diagnose the presence of a disease - is an important currnet theme in biomedical research.
This is in part due advances in bioinformatics where it is becoming quicker and more cost effective to sequence DNA and proteins. This in turn creates increased scope for the identification of potentially useful biomarkers.
Extending this process so that cost effective diagnostic tests are then widely available would help with prevention and / or early treatment of various diseases, particularly cancers.
The table below provides some specific examples of novel biomarkers which are showing signs of efficacy and are undergoing clinical trials.
Each individual marker could theoretically constitute a catalyst in its own right, subject to the combined trigger of (a) success in clinical trials followed by (b) widespread utilisation of the tests within the NHS.