Biomarker research: the way forward to modern medicine.
Both conventional and functional foods have, in the context of structured scientific research process using proteomics, nutragenomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics and genetic susceptibility, extensively contributed to another area of biomarker research which is nutritional biomarker research. In a pertinent review by Verhagen et al, (Mutation Research, 551, 65-78, 2004) the authors emphasize that the future of functional foods will heavily rely on proven efficacy in well-controlled intervention studies with human volunteers. To achieve maximum output of human trials, improvements are needed with respect to study design and optimization of study protocols. Efficacy at realistic intake levels needs to be established in studies with humans via the use of suitable biomarkers, unless the endpoint can be measured directly. The human body is able to deal with chemical entities irrespective of their origin, and the pharmaceutical terms "absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion" have their equivalent when biomarkers are concerned. A valid point highlighted by the authors and which warrants extensive attention in the light of contradictory data generated from functional food based clinical studies for the past years is the concept of "biomarker kinetics". Broadly speaking this comprises "formation, distribution, metabolism and excretion". However, this is at present neither an established science nor common practice in nutrition research on functional foods. The authors rightly point out that sampling times and matrices, for example, are chosen on the basis of historical practice and convenience (for volunteers and scientists) but not on the basis of in depth insight. This may be one of the key factors that could bring in the element of consistency, so much lacking in clinical studies.
The field of biomarker research is exciting and evolving at a fast pace. The momentum presented by the emerging interest of the role of biomarkers in the product lifecycle of drugs (from development to utilization) will continue to provide research and development opportunities for the drug manufacturers, regulatory agencies, academia, biotech organizations and research scientists globally A special issue of the journal Toxicology on the future of biomarkers (Aruoma and Bahorun (2010) Toxicology 278(2)) addresses the emerging concepts and is highly recommended to the reader.
Professor Theeshan Bahorun
Deputy Editor in Chief
Professor Theeshan Bahorun * PhD and Professor Okezie I Aruoma ** PhD, DSc
* Department of Biosciences, University of Mauritius, Republic of Mauritius
** Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Touro College of Pharmacy, New York, USA
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|Author:||Bahorun, Theeshan; Aruoma, Okezie I.|
|Publication:||Internet Journal of Medical Update|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2011|
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