the hunt for biomarkers: microsampling in omics
In recent years, the field of biomedical and clinical research has seen the adaptation of genomic, proteomic and other omics-based approaches in understanding the mechanisms of diseases. The approach has also been useful in the identification of biomarkers for diagnostics and therapeutic development.
While there is a rapid advancement in the application of omics technologies in clinical testing and clinical research, one key challenge remains. The challenge is the functional analysis and interpretation of the data due to the long workflows nature of omics experiments.
An overview of omics technology and its purpose
The recently coined “omics” is a word used to describe two things. The first is the comprehensive study of the interaction between the cell of an organism and the environment. The second is the technologies used in measuring transformation products.
Unlike the historical scientific approach (the “reduction approach”), omics presents a different approach in which a single gene product is used to model how the entire system will work in response to a stimulus or stimuli. The approach utilizes a wide range of data providing information on the development of new biomarkers applicable in:
- diagnostics and therapeutics
- patient monitoring
- prevention of diseases
It may also provide insight into both chronic and acute diseases.
In environmental and occupational health, omics can be applied where studies using genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, and epigenomics can be used to assess associations with identifiable biomarkers or effects on health. Therefore, omics technology can be described as a universal detection of proteins, metabolites, genes, and mRNA in any given biological sample.
Microsampling in Omics
Omics technologies demand very sensitive instruments. This is because even the smallest of external factor affecting a lab experiment may impact the outcome of the results. Therefore, high-level selectivity in the equipment applied is needed. Microsampling technology qualifies in application since it promises a collection of small samples of biological fluid while maintaining sample integrity.
The availability of a universal biomarker detector (omics) together with microsampling could mean a never-before-seen evolution in the field of medicine. A single drop of blood could map an individual’s phenome and genome.
With this information, it would be possible to detect any significant abnormalities and immediately act upon the information. This means better-personalized medicine as well as brighter futures for both patients and medical practitioners.
Topics: Clinical Research