The hidden lives of medical biomarkers are the focus of a recent study in Nature Communications by Jonathan Mosley, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics, and colleagues from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and 11 other institutions.
Any reliable measure of a physiological state might qualify as a biomarker. Some of the biomarkers used in disease risk assessment and diagnosis are themselves mediators of disease, LDL-cholesterol and blood pressure being two well-known examples.
The study introduces a method to define biomarker-outcomes spectrums. The authors write that, “Defining the complete spectrum of disease outcomes associated with a biomarker not only provides insights into disease mechanisms, but may also reveal potential beneficial and adverse effects of modulating biomarker levels.”