Protein biomarkers are naturally occurring substances that can be measured, often in fluids such as blood or urine. Such biomarkers have the potential to provide information about a patient and their illness. Different diseases have different biomarkers. When people become ill, changes in biomarker levels may occur before any clinical symptoms or signs become apparent. Measuring biomarkers in blood or urine is simple, safe and may help the doctor diagnose which disease the patient has, determine how severe it is, help choose the best treatment and help detect if the disease is getting worse or better.
New developments in research mean that many more
biomarkers are now being discovered than ever before. However, there is
currently no well-defined pathway linking biomarker research to health
services research. The result is that while new biomarkers are
constantly being identified, for many diseases there are not enough
biomarkers that are of proven usefulness in patient care today.
NIHR liver/renal biomarker programme
The NIHR liver/renal biomarker programme is aimed at developing a structure and methods to assess the clinical usefulness of biomarkers as quickly and efficiently as possible. We have recently been awarded a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme grant of £2 million to establish a process for stringent evaluation of promising biomarkers.
The main aims of the programme are to enable assessment of :
Introduction to Workstreams
The research programme is divided into three parallel work streams:
Level of coordination between workstreams - a flowchart
The flowchart below highlights the main remits of each work stream as well as the level of coordination between work streams.