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The Half-Baked Biomarker

Earlier this year, Leigh Anderson made a compelling argument in a Genome Technology cover story on biomarkers that without the validation step, biomarker discovery on its own doesn't mean a whole lot. "You could say that a biomarker candidate is discovered with proteomics," Anderson told us at the time, "but it’s possible to say that it’s really not a biomarker until you validate it. So, in a peculiar sense, the discovery actually occurs at the stage of validation."

In the recently posted feature in NCI's Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, David Conrad writes about much the same debate. The report, entitled "Nanotechnology-Based Assays for Validating Protein Biomarkers," discusses the challenges of developing good biomarkers and the diagnostics that go along with them.

In one example of successful work, the report highlights the work of Northwestern's Chad Mirkin. As PI of a nanotech-focused cancer center at the university, Mirkin and his team have come up with a nanoparticle-based "ultrasensitive method that can detect as few as 100 molecules of PSA in a drop of blood," according to the article.


The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.