WHAT ARE BLOOD MARKERS? A blood marker is any component in the blood that's associated with a condition, disease or symptom. Doctors look for something in the blood that they know affects, or is affected by, something else. Blood markers can indicate whether a system is healthy and functioning properly or if there's something wrong. In recent years, several studies have shown that greater amounts of proteins in the blood may be associated with various diseases. Identifying such biological markers as early as possible, before the onset of symptoms, could lead to earlier and better diagnoses, and earlier treatment. For instance, if elevated concentrations of certain neural growth "markers" are present at birth, it may be an indication that autism or mental retardation will develop later in childhood.
PERSONALIZED MEDICINE: The Moffitt Cancer Center's effort to collect samples of blood, urine, tumors, and more is intended to build up a database that can be used to draw conclusions about the types of treatments that might work for a particular patient, based upon indicators in their body. Doctors hope to be able to learn more about diseases and treatments, and apply that knowledge on an individual basis. The ultimate goal is to be able to individualize treatments based upon genetic and molecular targets.