Challenges in Biomarker Discovery

Although biomarkers have been considered more and more important, it is still very difficult to identify and validate effective and useful biomarkers. The obstacles in the biomarker identification include both technical and theoretical reasons.

For example, methods for identifying pathology-type immunohistochemical marker (IHCM) have been widely used. However, their fundamental mechanisms and clinical applications have not been fully understood (Abu-Asab et al. 2010).

Another problem is the inadequate representation of the disease heterogeneity by biomarkers. Biomarkers need to indicate not only the common features of a disease. They would be more useful if they can be applied to differentiate disease subtypes to show the scopes of the disease heterogeneity (Abu-Asab et al. 2010).

Specifically, biomarkers identified based on “omics” technologies and systems biology approaches may include cellular networks and the diversity of disease pathways. Such approaches including data modeling may help solve the problems mentioned above with systemic profiling and disease classification.


Abu-Asab MS, Chaouchi M, Alesci S, Galli S, Laassri M, Cheema AK, Atouf F, VanMeter J, Amri H. Biomarkers in the age of omics: time for a systems biology approach. OMICS. 2011 Mar;15(3):105-12. doi: 10.1089/omi.2010.0023.

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