Analytical validation considerations of multiplex mass-spectrometry-based proteomic platforms for measuring protein biomarkers.

Protein biomarker discovery and validation in current omics era are vital for healthcare professionals to improve diagnosis, detect cancers at an early stage, identify the likelihood of cancer recurrence, stratify stages with differential survival outcomes, and monitor therapeutic responses. The success of such biomarkers would have a huge impact on how we improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients and alleviate the financial burden of healthcare systems. In the past, the genomics community (mostly through large-scale, deep genomic sequencing technologies) has been steadily improving our understanding of the molecular basis of disease, with a number of biomarker panels already authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for clinical use (e.g., MammaPrint, two recently cleared devices using next-generation sequencing platforms to detect DNA changes in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene). Clinical proteomics, on the other hand, albeit its ability to delineate the functional units of a cell, more likely driving the phenotypic differences of a disease (i.e., proteins and protein-protein interaction networks and signaling pathways underlying the disease), “staggers” to make a significant impact with only an average ∼ 1.5 protein biomarkers per year approved by the FDA over the past 15-20 years. This statistic itself raises the concern that major roadblocks have been impeding an efficient transition of protein marker candidates in biomarker development despite major technological advances in proteomics in recent years.

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