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Screening for blood biomarkers has been proposed as a potential way to diagnose cancer at earlier stages of the disease.

  • Biological Markers’ are a physical, chemical or biological characteristic that is present in the human body and measurable too.
  • The WHO defines a biomarker as “any measurement reflecting an interaction between a biological system and a potential hazard, which may be chemical, physical or biological.
  • The measured response may be functional and physiological, biochemical at the cellular level or a molecular interaction”.
  • Experts also call them molecular markers and signature molecules.
  • They are indispensable in diagnosing disease, prescribing the right medication, right dosage, and even while designing new drugs.
  • Biomarkers include biomolecules like carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, genes, DNA, RNA, platelets, enzymes, hormones, etc.
  • Classification of Biomarkers:
    • Molecular– have biophysical properties, which allow their measurements in biological samples such as blood plasma, serum, cerebrospinal fluid, bronchoalveolar lavage, biopsy, urinalysis, and faecal analysis
    • Radiographic– obtained from imaging studies, for example, bone mineral density
    • Histologic– reflect biochemical or molecular alteration in cells, tissues, or fluids; for example, the staging and grading of cancers
    • Physiologic– measures of body processes, for example, blood pressure, pulse rate, and heart rate