Biomarkers play a major role in personalized medicine, supporting diagnosis and identifying those patients who are (or aren't) likely to respond, and supporting drugs through clinical trials.
Ulf Landegren, professor of molecular medicine at Uppsala University and vice chair of the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab), spoke with FierceBiomarkers at the BBMRI.se HandsOn: Biobanks meeting in Uppsala, Sweden, giving a taste of his views and his work in protein biomarkers. Here is a snapshot of the conversation.
As genetic tests become more widely available, some people are concerned that they are swelling the ranks and the anxiety levels of the "worried well"--the healthy people who visit the doctor to get reassurance, and can now get online genetic tests to confirm or assuage their worries.
A recently formed privately funded startup, Inform Genomics, is taking the concept of genetic markers and giving it a new twist, Ed Rubenstein, president and CEO, told FierceBiomarkers.
Biomarker tests are being developed and used that can improve diagnosis and predict the chance of developing the disease. However, knowing the potential risk of Alzheimer's disease can lead to anxiety and depression in people who have not developed symptoms. So is their use ethical, when patients may not be able to do anything with the results other than wait for symptoms and wonder about the future?
At AstraZeneca, the concept of personalized medicine is becoming embedded in R&D, Glenn Miller, vice president and head of personalized medicine at AstraZeneca, told FierceBiomarkers at BIO 2012.
The recent non-invasive sequencing of an unborn baby's genome, using cell-free fetal DNA in the mother's bloodstream, found a range of mutations in the child's genome that were not seen in either of the parents. However, it has raised a lot of ethical issues, too, with a mixed and emotional response across the blogosphere.
This week's newsletter features a number of stories about gene-based biomarkers, and there has been an explosion in these since the sequencing of the human genome over a decade ago. But the jury is still out on genetic testing.
Biomarker discovery and development are driving the development of targeted therapies, particularly in cancer, and these need companion tests to ensure that only the people with the right markers (and therefore the people who are most likely to benefit) are treated. But what does it cost?