New Study Reveals Evolving Practices In The Use Of Molecular Biomarkers In Cancer Diagnostics

Biopharm Reports has published the findings of a new global market study of cancer molecular biomarkers. This study reveals changes in the molecular biomarkers being used in cancer diagnostics, as clinicians and researchers strive for more personalised treatment strategies.

Online PR News – 12-March-2014 – London UK – Technological advances in molecular biology over the last decade are accelerating the development of molecular diagnostic tests. These advances point towards faster, simpler and more standardised tests and testing platforms, and promise to change the face of clinical care as more personalised treatment strategies are advanced.

Nucleic acid biomarkers are now at the forefront of strategies to improve cancer diagnostics, including point-of-care testing. Advances in the understanding of cellular transcriptional networks that regulate gene expression have proved fundamental here, since these are at the heart of cancer phenotypes. These advances have focused attention on molecules such as mRNA, which are integral to gene expression and microRNAs, which are important in regulating gene expression, alongside the no less important and ever-growing numbers of genetic changes and mutation seen in cancer.

While nucleic acid biomarkers offer important advances alongside phenotypic methods, laboratories face steep learning curves in setting up new molecular applications, not least due to the need for advanced techniques such as PCR, next-generation sequencing, microarray and others, as well as the requirement to interpret increasingly large amounts of genetic data.

An extensive global study of this area recently completed by Biopharm Reports profiled 596 clinicians and research scientists in the cancer diagnostics field. This study examined current clinical and research use of cancer molecular biomarkers as well as those they anticipate using in three years from now, together with their associated clinical utilities. These molecular biomarkers included blood absolute DNA levels, circulating DNA, DNA mismatch-repair genes (e.g. MLH1), epigenetic modifications (e.g. promoter methylation), gene expression (mRNA), Loss of heterozygosity (LOH), microRNA, microsatellite instability, mitochondrial RNA (MtRNA), mutation of cell cycle genes (e.g. cyclins), mutation in tumour promoters (e.g. Ras)., mutations in DNA repair proteins (e.g. XRCC1), mutations in tumour suppressors (e.g. p53), repetitive DNA sequences, ribosomal RNA (rRNA), small Interfering RNA (siRNA), small Nuclear RNA (snRNA), transfer RNA, translocation/fusion of genes, gene copy number and others.

Its findings, which also profile molecular techniques and many other areas that are important in cancer diagnostics, provide information on the current and evolving use of cancer molecular biomarkers and assist drug developers, diagnostics companies and laboratory suppliers selling into these markets, to respond to laboratory users’ current needs and their future plans.

Biopharm Reports specialises in carrying out market studies of techniques and applications used in life science laboratories and clinics. These studies involve the participation of scientists and clinicians and investigate in-depth, key areas of their current use of specialised laboratory techniques, and their plans for using these techniques over the next three years.

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