The greatest unmet needs in biomarker discovery are those discoveries that lead to the development of clinical diagnostic tests. These clinical diagnostic tests can provide early intervention when a patient would present otherwise healthy (e.g., cancer or cardiovascular disease) and aid clinical decision making with improved clinical outcomes. The past two decades have seen significant technological improvements in the analytical capabilities of mass spectrometers. Mass spectrometers are unique in that they can directly analyze any biological molecule susceptible to ionization. The biological studies of human metabolites and proteins using contemporary mass spectrometry technology (metabolomics and proteomics, respectively) has been ongoing for over a decade. Some of these studies have resulted in exciting insights into human biology. However, relatively few biomarkers have been translated into clinical tests. This review will discuss some key technological developments that have occurred over this time with an emphasis on technologies that will create new avenues for biomarker discovery.
- Clinical performance
- Mass spectrometry