What Is A Biomarker?

Test tubes and pipetteBiomarker is a shortened version of biological markers. A biomarker is any measurement done to assess medical signs which can indicate an interaction between a biological system and a possible problem. A few simple examples of biomarkers which are used by health care professionals in making assessments include your pulse, blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol level. It may include an assessment of your body mass index (BMI) to determine if you are carrying a healthy weight or not and may be at risk for a metabolic disease.

Biomarkers help predict serious illness such as heart disease or diabetes. After a heart attack biomarkers may help indicate the severity of the attack and exactly when it occurred. Biomarkers are used for diagnosis and treatments of thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease, among others. Biomarkers can also rule out a suspected disease.

Biomarkers are used in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of many forms of cancer.

Biomarkers can be used to assess a patients response to a particular drug program so the physician can determine if the therapy is effective or if an adjustment is necessary. The biomarkers can show if a disease is slowing or possibly reversing or if the disease is becoming more severe.

DNA code analysisBiomarkers are especially important for clinical trials when experimental treatments are being tested. The biomarkers can help researchers determine if the experimental research is producing the desired results, Biomarkers can be helpful as tools when selecting the patients to participate in clinical trials.

A good biomarker should show clearly a connection to a specific disease. It should be easy to take samples needed. It should be safe and cost effective. It should be standard across a disease regardless of patient gender. It should be a fairly simple test which is not too unpleasant for the patient to consider.

Biomarkers may be used to identity, confirm or rule out a diagnosis and these are known as diagnostic biomarkers. Prognostic biomarkers indicate what will be the disease progression if left untreated, Predictive biomarkers may give an indication of how well someone will respond to the treatment. There are biomarkers which indicate how a drug behaves in the body.

Biomarkers will continue to play an important role in modern day medicine. More research is being done to increase their effectiveness in diagnosing, treating and monitoring progress of more and more diseases.