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Biomarkers to guide clinical therapeutics in rheumatology?

Robinson, W.H., Mao, R.

Purpose of review

The use of biomarkers in rheumatology can help identify disease risk, improve diagnosis and prognosis, target therapy, assess response to treatment, and further our understanding of the underlying pathogenesis of disease. Here, we discuss the recent advances in biomarkers for rheumatic disorders, existing impediments to progress in this field, and the potential of biomarkers to enable precision medicine and thereby transform rheumatology.

Recent findings

Although significant challenges remain, progress continues to be made in biomarker discovery and development for rheumatic diseases. The use of next-generation technologies, including large-scale sequencing, proteomic technologies, metabolomic technologies, mass cytometry, and other single-cell analysis and multianalyte analysis technologies, has yielded a slew of new candidate biomarkers. Nevertheless, these biomarkers still require rigorous validation and have yet to make their way into clinical practice and therapeutic development. This review focuses on advances in the biomarker field in the last 12 months as well as the challenges that remain.

Summary

Better biomarkers, ideally mechanistic ones, are needed to guide clinical decision making in rheumatology. Although the use of next-generation techniques for biomarker discovery is making headway, it is imperative that the roadblocks in our search for new biomarkers are overcome to enable identification of biomarkers with greater diagnostic and predictive utility. Identification of biomarkers with robust diagnostic and predictive utility would enable precision medicine in rheumatology.

Citation

Robinson, W.H., Mao, R. "Biomarkers to guide clinical therapeutics in rheumatology?" Current Opinion in Rheumatology (2016): 168–75