A #biomarker, or biological marker, generally refers to a measurable #indicator of some biological state or condition. The term is also occasionally used to refer to a substance whose detection indicates the presence of a living organism.
The principles of #biomarkers in disease have been applied to the detection, screening, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of #cancer. Traditionally, anti-cancer drugs were agents that killed both cancer cells and healthy cells. However, more targeted therapies have now been developed that can be directed to kill cancer cells only, while sparing healthy cells.
The assessment of a typical biomarker in cancer helps in the development of therapies that can target the biomarker. This can minimize the risk of toxicity and reduce the cost of treatment.
In cancer research, genetic studies are valuable because genetic abnormalities so often underlie the development of cancer. Certain DNA or RNA markers may therefore help in the detection and treatment of specific cancers.
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