Simpson, Kathryn L; Whetton, Anthony D; Dive, Caroline (2009-05-01)
The potential for development of personalised medicine through the characterisation of novel biomarkers is an exciting prospect for improved patient care. Recent advances in mass spectrometric (MS) techniques, liquid phase analyte separation and bioinformatic tools for high throughput now mean that this goal may soon become a reality. However, there are challenges to be overcome for the identification and validation of robust biomarkers. Bio-fluids such as plasma and serum are a rich source of protein, many of which may reflect disease status, and due to the ease of sampling and handling, novel blood borne biomarkers are very much sought after. MS-based methods for high throughput protein identification and quantification are now available such that the issues arising from the huge dynamic range of proteins present in plasma may be overcome, allowing deep mining of the blood proteome to reveal novel biomarker signatures for clinical use. In addition, the development of sensitive MS-based methods for biomarker validation may bypass the bottleneck created by the need for generation and usage of reliable antibodies prior to large scale screening. In this review, we discuss the MS-based methods that are available for clinical proteomic analysis and highlight the progress made and future challenges faced in this cutting edge area of research.
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