Fingerprint of the cell
Biomarkers are kind of fingerprints that the cells are leaving behind from their inner processes.
A biomarker is a molecule that can be monitored, most often in a lab test, with highly sensitive methods measuring very small amounts of a substance accurately and precisely.
New research in biomarkers is interesting, has the objective to make very precise diagnosis of illnesses that are not yet diagnosable. Therefore, finding a biomarker, and developing a lab test to monitor it, results in invisible illness becoming visible, and thereby understood by the medical doctors.
Monitoring one or more biomarkers in a lab test, not only gives a close to 100% correct answer of what is wrong, but also tell how bad the injury it is. Especially, biomarkers are of high value when their role is to reveal illness with origin in the brain.
Scientists take samples from the spinal fluid, which is closest to the brain and compare the biomarker findings with findings in the blood, the salvia (from the mouth). As the brain has influence on the organ function, there could be samples from organ related fluids. Hair samples as well (read here).
“Every scientist dream scenario is to find the million dollar biomarker, that gives an early and precise diagnosis in a sample that is not too difficult nor to risky or expensive to draw from the human body,” Collin Powel stated in a YouTube interview. Before his retirement, he was heading the biomarker program that led to the first lab test for mild traumatic brain injury.
In 2018, the American authorities (FDA) has approved a laboratory test that immediately reveals mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in people who had a concussion (read more here).
Biomarkers and the new lab tests will help doctors evaluate patients more accurately and precisely.