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What is a Biomarker?

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Consistent monitoring of CRP levels can help physicians assess the response to treatment and adjust therapy accordingly.

What is a Biomarker? 

Biomarkers are measurable indicators of biological processes or responses to diseases that can be used to monitor health status, diagnose diseases, predict disease progression, and evaluate the effectiveness of treatments. Biomarkers can be found in various samples such as blood, urine, saliva, and tissues (1).  

One example of a commonly used biomarker is C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is a protein produced by the liver in response to inflammation or infection. Elevated levels of CRP in the blood are associated with various inflammatory and infectious conditions including arthritis, type 2 diabetes, viral and bacterial infections (2). CRP is used as a biomarker in clinical practice to help diagnose and monitor the progression of these conditions (2–4). For example, in patients with suspected rheumatoid arthritis, elevated levels of CRP may indicate the presence of inflammation and reflect disease severity. In addition, consistent monitoring of CRP levels can help physicians assess the response to treatment and adjust therapy accordingly (3)

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By providing rapid and accurate diagnostic information at the point of care, point-of-care biomarker testing has the potential to improve health outcomes and save lives.

How Can You Track Biomarker Levels?

One way of tracking biomarkers is through point-of-care testing (POCT). POCT involves the use of portable, user-friendly, and often inexpensive diagnostic devices (5). The development of POCT has revolutionized healthcare by providing rapid and accurate diagnostic information at the patient's bedside or in remote settings, thereby improving health outcomes. Point-of-care biomarker testing has several advantages over traditional laboratory-based testing. Firstly, it provides rapid results that can be obtained within minutes, allowing for immediate clinical decision-making and treatment initiation (6). Secondly, it reduces the time and cost associated with sample transportation and processing, as well as the need for specialized laboratory equipment and personnel. Lastly, it improves patient access to diagnostic services, particularly in resource-limited settings where laboratory infrastructure is limited (7)

The development of point-of-care biomarker testing has greatly enhanced the accessibility and effectiveness of diagnostic services, particularly in resource-limited settings (7). By providing rapid and accurate diagnostic information at the point of care, point-of-care biomarker testing has the potential to improve health outcomes and save lives (6)

References 1.Strimbu K, Tavel JA. What are Biomarkers? Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2010 Nov;5(6):463–6. 2.Sproston NR, Ashworth JJ. Role of C-Reactive Protein at Sites of Inflammation and Infection. Front Immunol. 2018 Apr 13;9:754. 3.Pope JE, Choy EH. C-reactive protein and implications in rheumatoid arthritis and associated comorbidities. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2021 Feb 1;51(1):219–29. 4.Luan Y yi, Yao Y ming. The Clinical Significance and Potential Role of C-Reactive Protein in Chronic Inflammatory and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Front Immunol. 2018 Jun 7;9:1302. 5.Lingervelder D, Koffijberg H, Kusters R, IJzerman MJ. Health Economic Evidence of Point-of-Care Testing: A Systematic Review. PharmacoEconomics - Open. 2021 Jun 1;5(2):157–73. 6.Vashist SK. Point-of-Care Diagnostics: Recent Advances and Trends. Biosensors. 2017 Dec 18;7(4):62. 7.Liu X, Zhu X, Kost GJ, Liu J, Huang J, Liu X. The Creation of Point-of-Careology. Point Care. 2019 Sep;18(3):77.

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