Clinical proteomics and biomarker discovery
Early detection of disease generally provides much-improved outcomes by a definitive medical procedure or through lifestyle modification along with specific medical management strategies. For serum biomarkers, which are central to the diagnosis of many diseases, to become truly useful sentinels of pathogenesis, their sensitivity and specificity in both early detection and recurrence monitoring must be improved. Currently, the detection and monitoring of disease markers is based on solitary proteins, and this approach is not always reliable. New classes of biomarkers derived from mass spectroscopy analysis of the low molecular weight proteome have shown improved abilities in the early detection of disease and hence in patient risk stratification and outcome. The development of a modular platform technology with sufficient flexibility and design abstractions allowing for concurrent experimentation, test, and refinement will help speed the progress of mass spectroscopy-derived proteomic pattern-based diagnostics from the scientific laboratory to the medical clinic. For acceptance by scientists, physicians, and regulatory personnel, new bioinformatic tools are essential system components for data management, analysis, and intuitive display of these new and complex data. Clinically engineered mass spectroscopy systems are essential for the further development and validation of multiplexed biomarkers that have shown tremendous promise for the early detection of disease.