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Open Access Highly Accessed Commentary

Does the biomarker search paradigm need re-booting?

Robert E Hurst

Author Affiliations

Departments of Urology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Environmental Health Sciences, Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, 940 S.L. Young Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA

BMC Urology 2009, 9:1  doi:10.1186/1471-2490-9-1

Published: 27 February 2009

Abstract

The clinical problem of bladder cancer is its high recurrence and progression, and that the most sensitive and specific means of monitoring is cystoscopy, which is invasive and has poor patient compliance. Biomarkers for recurrence and progression could make a great contribution, but in spite of decades of research, no biomarkers are commercially available with the requisite sensitivity and specificity. In the post-genomic age, the means to search the entire genome for biomarkers has become available, but the conventional approaches to biomarker discovery are entirely inadequate to yield results with the new technology. Finding clinically useful biomarker panels with sensitivity and specificity equal to that of cystoscopy is a problem of systems biology.