• Adam Tabriz, MD

Utility of Biomarkers In Personalized Medicine

Biomarkers Are Excellent Tools To Engage Patients In Their Medical Care.

Illumination publication initially publicized this article on Medium!

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

As the healthcare industry is traversing through a new development phase, medical communities gain access to new instruments and strategies to tackle human diseases. Along with raising patient expectations fueled by access to an ocean of information over cyberspace, that has facilitated innovations that custom delivers diagnostic and treatment based on individual needs and expectations.

Personalized healthcare is an evolving field in the healthcare delivery system that enables physicians and healthcare stakeholders, in general, to utilize various innovative tools. Those include diagnostic tests, communication platforms, and point-of-care systems to determine and customize medical treatment options for patients and engage them in medical treatments.

Personalized healthcare can entail tailoring the continuity of medical care from medical facilities to remote locations such as patients' homes. It also includes Personalized Medicine that involves the doctor-patient encounter, like involving patients in clinical decision-making or simply taking advantage of precision medicine technologies such as "Biomarkers" that help physicians personalize and make targeted diagnostic and therapeutic decisions.

The Utility Of Biomarkers As Instrument Of Precision Medical Tools Is Well Founded. However, Their Utility In Personalizing Healthcare Is More Imminent

Biomarkers are biological molecules or physiological phenomena in body fluids and tissues like blood, urine, and fat. The existence or various levels of these intrinsically occurring substances can signify a healthy or abnormal process, medical condition, or disease. Likewise, biomarker-level trends in body fluids or tissues can determine how well the human body reacts to medical treatment.

The four major categories of Biomarkers include Molecular, Histologic, Radiographic, and Physiologic characteristics. Factors including IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), insulin, glucose, C-reactive protein (a measure of systemic inflammation), triglycerides, and blood pressure are a few of the most popular biomarkers in clinical use today.

Recently there have been some innovative advances in Biomarker technology, like those allowing the examination of nucleic acid-based gene mutations and quantitative gene expression analysis. Or staging of cancer biomarkers for monitoring the clinical response to an intervention.

Indeed, the advantages of Biomarkers are many, including precision of measurement. It can be reliable, given the establishment of validity, and Less biased than traditional questionnaires. Using Biomarkers for disease typically reflects study mechanisms and, thus, homogeneity of risk or illness.

Despite all the advantages, Biomarkers also come with sundry limitations and challenges. For the accurate utility of Biomarkers, their timing accuracy of sample collection is critical. Often it is a costly undertaking primarily associated with its storage ensuring longevity. Furthermore, the normal range of Biomarkers can be challenging to establish, and laboratory errors can happen.

Ethical responsibility related to the utility of Biomarkers is fundamental. Those are scenarios such as the pre-detection of neurodegenerative diseases or Alzheimers, which, if disclosed, can have a significant emotional and social impact on the patients.

Despite many pre-clinical efforts and validation of Biomarker utility, there are still a relative handful of Biomarkers available for clinical application. That is merely due to the obstacles to their clinical validation and standardization.

Although the application of Biomarkers in precision medicine is still somewhat in its infancy, it may still have great value as a casual biofeedback modality and tool to engage patients in their care. For instance, if physicians can continually display patients' blood glucose levels without having to do frequent finger pricks and channel that information through smartphones via an alert system, patients will be more likely to participate in healthy lifestyles. Or- physicians may be able to measure the efficacy of depression treatment by measuring a biomarker, polygenic heterogeneity, lest the genetic mechanisms produce the same antidepressant results.

Biomarkers are excellent personalized healthcare, personalized medicine, and patient engagement tools. It helps increase patient engagement in positive lifestyle behavior by merging patient activation with interventions. Those include behaviors such as obtaining preventive care or exercising regularly.

Then again, optimal employment of Biomarkers in patient engagement practice also necessitates robust interconnected healthcare delivery logistics. A convenient system offers a collaborative attitude and promotes interactive domains.

“Patient engagement is partnering, realizing technology’s role with them, continually delivering a tailored experience to their expectations while maintaining your vision, mission, and power of persuasion as a physician.” — Dr. Adam Tabriz


  1. Nøhr, Anne Krogh, Annika Forsingdal, Ida Moltke, Oliver D. Howes, Morana Vitezic, Anders Albrechtsen, and Maria Dalby. "Polygenic Heterogeneity in Antidepressant Treatment and Placebo Response — Translational Psychiatry." Nature, October 29, 2022. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-022-02221-4.

  2. National Cancer Institute. "NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms." Accessed October 30, 2022. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/genetics-dictionary/def/genetic-heterogeneity.

  3. Drucker, Elisabeth, and Kurt Krapfenbauer. "Pitfalls and Limitations in Translation from Biomarker Discovery to Clinical Utility in Predictive and Personalised Medicine — EPMA Journal." SpringerLink, February 25, 2013. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1878-5085-4-7.

  4. Angioni, Davide, J. Delrieu, O. Hansson, H. Fillit, P. Aisen, J. Cummings, J. R. Sims, et al. "Blood Biomarkers from Research Use to Clinical Practice: What Must Be Done? A Report from the EU/US CTAD Task Force — The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease." SpringerLink, October 12, 2022. https://link.springer.com/article/10.14283/jpad.2022.85.

  5. Mayeux, Richard. "Biomarkers: Potential Uses and Limitations — PMC." PubMed Central (PMC). Accessed October 30, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC534923/.

  6. Biomarkers — an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. "Biomarkers — an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics." Accessed October 30, 2022. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/biomarkers.

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