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Neurosurgery. 2012 Mar;70(3):518-25. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e3182333a26.

Clinical neuroproteomics and biomarkers: from basic research to clinical decision making.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neurosciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Clinical neuroproteomics aims to advance our understanding of disease and injury affecting the central and peripheral nervous systems through the study of protein expression and the discovery of protein biomarkers to facilitate diagnosis and treatment. The general premise of the biomarker field is that in vivo factors present in either tissue or circulating biofluids, reflect pathological changes, and can be identified and analyzed. This approach offers an opportunity to illuminate changes occurring at both the population and patient levels toward the realization of personalized medicine. This review is intended to provide research-driven clinicians with an overview of protein biomarkers of disease and injury for clinical use and to highlight methodology and potential pitfalls. We examine the neuroproteomic biomarker field and discuss the hallmarks and the challenges of clinically relevant biomarker discovery relating to central nervous system pathology. We discuss the issues in the maturation of potential biomarkers from discovery to Food and Drug Administration approval and review several platforms for protein biomarker discovery, including protein microarray and mass spectrometry-based proteomics. We describe the application of microfluidic technologies to the evolution of a robust clinical test. Finally, we highlight several biomarkers currently in use for cancer, ischemia, and injury in the central nervous system. Future efforts using these technologies will result in the maturation of existing and the identification of de novo biomarkers that could guide clinical decision making and advance diagnostic and therapeutic options for the treatment of neurological disease and injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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