The interface between biomarker discovery and clinical validation: The tar pit of the protein biomarker pipeline

Proteomics Clin Appl. 2008 Oct 1;2(10-11):1386-1402. doi: 10.1002/prca.200780174.


The application of "omics" technologies to biological samples generates hundreds to thousands of biomarker candidates; however, a discouragingly small number make it through the pipeline to clinical use. This is in large part due to the incredible mismatch between the large numbers of biomarker candidates and the paucity of reliable assays and methods for validation studies. We desperately need a pipeline that relieves this bottleneck between biomarker discovery and validation. This paper reviews the requirements for technologies to adequately credential biomarker candidates for costly clinical validation and proposes methods and systems to verify biomarker candidates. Models involving pooling of clinical samples, where appropriate, are discussed. We conclude that current proteomic technologies are on the cusp of significantly affecting translation of molecular diagnostics into the clinic.