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Open Access Highly Accessed Editorial

Opportunities and challenges of disease biomarkers: a new section in the journal of translational medicine

Xiangdong Wang12* and Peter A Ward3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Biomedical Research Center, Zhongshan Hospital Qing-Pu Branch, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

2 Clinical Bioinformatics, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden

3 Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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Journal of Translational Medicine 2012, 10:220  doi:10.1186/1479-5876-10-220

Published: 7 November 2012

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

The word “biomarker” describes a traceable and characterized substance that is an indicator of biological morphology, processes and function. Disease biomarkers are used to diagnose various phases of diseases, monitor severities of diseases and responses to therapies, and are predictors of prognosis of patients and likely responses to therapy. One of criteria to evaluate the value of disease biomarkers is the disease-associated specificity, sensitivity, traceability, stability, repeatability and reliability. Increasing numbers of biomarkers are being discovered and identified from preclinical research, but only a few have been found to be useful clinically. The Journal of Translational Medicine opens a new Section of Disease Biomarkers to bridge identification and validation of gene or protein-based biomarkers, network biomarkers, dynamic network biomarkers in human diseases, patient phenotypes, and clinical applications. The Section intends to accelerate the discovery and development of human disease-specific biomarkers for the early diagnosis, and monitoring, evaluation of diseases and predictions of responses to therapy. The Section will be an important and critical platform to underscore the significance and value of Disease Biomarkers and promote innovation and development of disease-specific biomarkers by integrating multidisciplinary aspects of science. The following are aspects of the planned biomarker studies: