Paving the Road for Clinical Biomarkers

May 3, 2016
Paving the Road for Clinical Biomarkers
This image, from the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, shows multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis of cells from a patient with esophagogastric cancer. Remarkably, the FISH analysis revealed that co-amplification of the MET gene (red signal) and the EGFR gene (green signal) existed simultaneously in the same tumor cells. A chromosome 7 control probe is shown in blue. [Massachussetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School]

Kate Marusina, Ph.D.

In time, the narrow, tortuous paths followed by pioneers become wider and straighter, whether the pioneers are looking to settle new land or bring new biomarkers to the clinic. In the case of biomarkers, we’re still at the stage where pioneers need to consult guides and outfitters or, in modern parlance, consultants and technology providers. These hardy souls tend to congregate at events like the Biomarker Conference, which was held recently in San Diego.

At this event, biomarker experts discussed ways to avoid unfortunate detours on the trail from discovery and development to clinical application and regulatory approval. Of particular interest were topics such as the  identification of accurate biomarkers, the explication of disease mechanisms, the stratification of patient groups and the developing standard protocols and assay platforms. This last topic, in particular, is about smoothing the road to clinical biomarkers.

Another crucial subject is the integration of techniques such as next-generation sequencing (NGS). This particular technique has been instrumental in advancing clinical cancer genomics and continues to be the most feasible way of simultaneously interrogating multiple genes for driver mutations.

For the rest of this article click here.