Over the past two decades, neonatal clinicians have commonly used host response biomarkers to diagnose and assess the severity of systemic infection. Most of these biomarkers, such as acute-phase proteins or cytokines, are non-specific immunomodulating mediators of the inflammatory cascade. With advances in biochemical/genetic research, it is anticipated that future biomarkers will be 'organ and/or disease specific'. There is also the quest for discovery of 'novel' biomarkers to assist diagnosis and prognosis of neonatal diseases using powerful mass-screening techniques, e.g. the next-generation sequencing, proteomics and arrays. This article aims to introduce the concept of the next generation of biomarkers to practising neonatal clinicians, and, hopefully, to integrate basic science research into day-to-day clinical practice in the future.
Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.