EAU15: Cracking the biomarker market

Sun, 22 Mar 2015

The current biomarker research field is humming with activity but the numbers and frequency of new biomarkers coming in doesn’t always translate to efficient clinical use, prompting researchers to ask if their efforts are worth the long and tedious process.

“Why are the latest markers not used? We expect the breakthrough marker, but we’re not very good at marker research,” said Guido Jenster (NL) during his Plenary Session 2 presentation where the theme focused on identifying low-risk prostate cancer patients.

He introduced his overview presentation by noting the current biomarker market is crowded with various types of markers which can be categorized as risk, diagnostic, prognostic, predictive and monitoring markers, implying there is no lack or scarcity in this research field.

“Unfortunately, our battle with molecular biomarkers has not been won,” he added. “The situation with biomarkers are still complex; markers today do have a clinical value but they come at a cost,” Jenster said,

Regarding prostate cancer, Jenster reiterated that since this disease is heterogenous, multi-focal and adaptable, it this further complicates the scenario.

“New technologies are laborious and expensive, and progress almost always comes in small steps,” he added.

He underscored that real test for a marker is its practical and efficient use in the clinical setting. “Added clinical value- this is where our real value comes in,” said Jenster as he urged to pursue their goals.

“Be patient, persistent and supportive. PCa is a complex disease and good markers are difficult to find,” he said. “Get involved in collecting patient samples and test promising markers and assays.”