Clinical proteomics: present and future prospects

Clin Biochem Rev. 2006 May;27(2):99-116.


Advances in proteomics technology offer great promise in the understanding and treatment of the molecular basis of disease. The past decade of proteomics research, the study of dynamic protein expression, post-translational modifications, cellular and sub-cellular protein distribution, and protein-protein interactions, has culminated in the identification of many disease-related biomarkers and potential new drug targets. While proteomics remains the tool of choice for discovery research, new innovations in proteomic technology now offer the potential for proteomic profiling to become standard practice in the clinical laboratory. Indeed, protein profiles can serve as powerful diagnostic markers, and can predict treatment outcome in many diseases, in particular cancer. A number of technical obstacles remain before routine proteomic analysis can be achieved in the clinic; however the standardisation of methodologies and dissemination of proteomic data into publicly available databases is starting to overcome these hurdles. At present the most promising application for proteomics is in the screening of specific subsets of protein biomarkers for certain diseases, rather than large scale full protein profiling. Armed with these technologies the impending era of individualised patient-tailored therapy is imminent. This review summarises the advances in proteomics that has propelled us to this exciting age of clinical proteomics, and highlights the future work that is required for this to become a reality.