For the public
A biomarker is a biological molecule found in blood, other body fluids (such as urine), or tissues that is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease.
Biomarkers may be used to accurately diagnose a particular disease, or predict the progression of a disease (the prognosis).
A biomarker may be used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition.
Biomarkers are sometimes called molecular markers or signature molecules.
What do biomarker tests involve?
You have probably given a biological sample for testing when visiting the doctor at some point in your life.
For example, you may have provided a urine sample for testing glucose levels so your doctor or nurse can tell if you might be suffering from diabetes.
Glucose is a very simple biomarker where abnormal levels can be a sign of a disease (diabetes).
Through measuring this biomarker, doctors can put patients into groups of patients who might have diabetes and those who do not have diabetes.
How our research can help
Stratified medicine (which is sometimes called personalised or precision medicine) is an approach to treating patients through categorising them into groups based on their risk of having a particular disease, or how they are likely to respond a particular drug or therapy.
It is important that the correct tests and techniques are available that can put individuals into these groups, depending on their exact disease type and likely response to particular treatments.
The Stoller Biomarker Discovery Centre and Manchester Molecular Pathology Innovation Centre are working to discover new biomarkers and turn these into new tests, which will lead to improvements in the way patients are diagnosed and treated.