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Can J Cardiol. 2009 Jun;25 Suppl A:9A-14A.

Searching for 'omic' biomarkers.

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  • 1NCE CECR Centre of Excellence for Prevention of Organ Failure.


Cardiovascular diseases impose enormous social and economic burdens on both individual citizens and on society as a whole. Clinical indicators such as high blood pressure, blood cholesterol and obesity have had some utility in identifying those who are at increased risk of cardiovascular events. However, there remains an urgent need for sensitive and specific indicators, preferably acquired through minimally invasive means, to help stratify patients for more personalized health care. As such, there has been a steadily growing interest in searching for 'omic' biomarkers of cardiovascular diseases. Historically, the transition of cardiac biomarker discovery to implementation has been a lengthy and somewhat unregulated process. Recent technological advancements, as well as concurrent efforts by regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (United States) and Health Canada to establish policies and guidelines in the 'omic' arena, have helped propel the discovery and validation of biomarkers forward. The present paper provides perspective on current strategies in the biomarker development pathway, as well as the potential limitations associated with each step from discovery to clinical uptake. Canadian biomarker studies now underway illustrate the possibilities for assessment of risk, diagnosis, prognosis and response to therapy, and for the drug discovery process.

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