In question three of Ask the Experts on Biomarkers, our experts provide their thoughts on some of the recent innovative technologies emerging in the field.
What is the best technology innovation within the field?
John Allinson (LGC Group)
This is a difficult question as most research scientists will not necessarily experience the technology developments used daily in the clinical world. If we look at real-world daily applications, I’d have to say the development of fully automated analytical systems that allow sample-in:results-out analysis.
In research, it is more difficult since technology platforms can be very different and thus it can be difficult to gauge what is considered to be the “best”. Among those that I believe will be proven with the passage of time are the multiplexed systems, ultrasensitive platforms, and miniaturized automated systems that will see technology range from discovery/development applications to point-of-care instruments.
Devagi Mehta, Chris Stebbins, Danielle Graham and Lauren Stevenson (Biogen)
From our perspective, recent innovations in ultra-low sensitivity platforms have opened up the possibility of measuring less abundant analytes that we have typically failed to measure using traditional methods. However, these advances in technology must still contend with the general challenges faced in the biomarker development space along with any new challenges that arise specific to the technology.
For example, a universal issue experienced within the biomarker field that cannot be fixed by new technology is the lack of true reference standards and access to appropriate patient samples needed to scientifically validate the biological relevance of a given biomarker. Furthermore, the regulatory and commercial paths for biomarkers reliant on cutting-edge technology can be limited by practical considerations, such as the lag time in adoption of new technology by contract research organizations supporting large-scale clinical trials and meeting regulatory requirements for instrument validation.
It is our opinion that improved technology is just one key component that drives advancement of the biomarker field and can provide the opportunity to expand scientific innovation.
Patrick Bennett (PPD)
I think that high resolution mass spectrometry combined with LBA techniques offer the best selectivity, sensitivity and time to develop a method. From a molecular genomics standpoint, next gen sequencing also provides a tremendous platform for assessing broad and deep coverage of genetic modifications.
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