Identifying novel biomarkers in Chronic Diseases serves as a springboard for various studies in our laboratory. In order to identify novel protein markers of disease, we have established two platforms in-house – an array-based screen that interrogates the levels of 1000 different proteins, and an aptamer-based screen that interrogates the levels of 1300 different proteins. In addition, mass-spectrometry based metabolomics helps uncover potential biomarker metabolites in diseases. These different technologies are being applied to various body fluids from patients with multiple chronic diseases in order to identify novel disease biomarkers, as summarized in the figure below. Different body fluids are turning out to be reflective of different localized disease processes, including the following:
Once identified, the biomarkers lend themselves to three types of downstream studies, as summarized in the figure above. First, efforts are in progress to ascertain if the identified biomarkers are suitable for tracking disease activity over the long term, or for detecting the disease early. Second, we are experimenting with different platforms in order to design point-of-care technologies that may facilitate home monitoring of various biomarkers. Third, the best biomarkers turn out to be key players in disease pathogenesis. Efforts are in progress to define the pathogenic roles of selected molecules in disease pathogenesis using animal models and to test if the implicated molecules or pathways can also be targeted therapeutically.