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June 1, 2011

The Thin Line Between Hope and Hype in Biomarker Research

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Bioinformatics, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

JAMA. 2011;305(21):2229-2230. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.729

Biomarkers have become a popular topic in medicine, and investigations of putative molecular indicators of a specific biological state have started to occupy a considerable part of health research. In the past decades, advances in molecular biology coupled with progress in genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics have fueled hope for the development of new medical tests. Biomarkers should enable clinicians to make an earlier or more definitive diagnosis, identify persons at risk of developing disease, develop more precise estimates about prognosis, and fine-tune treatment selection, thereby approaching a form of stratified, or even personalized, medicine.

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