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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

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.