What are Biomarkers?

Have you ever heard the term “biomarkers”? It is actually short for “biological markers”, which are substances found in the blood, fluids and tissues. They can take different forms as genes, cells, proteins, antibodies, hormones, enzymes and other compounds.

What are they used for? Routinely, biomarkers are used to detect, diagnose or treat medical conditions. This is because they measure specific health processes or illnesses in the body including blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and glucose levels.

Biomarkers can help predict anything from a fever to diabetes to cancer. For example, body temperature is a common biomarker for fever. Triglycerides are a biomarker for heart attack, coronary heart disease, and pancreatitis.

Biomarkers have been in used for more than 50 years, but there are more breakthroughs happening every day. Biomarkers hold great promise for individualized medicine and the development of new drugs and treatments.

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