Research Topic

Real-time Point-of-Care Quantitative Biomarkers: Trekkie Hype or the Future of Personalized Medicine?

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With increasing frequency, biologically-relevant information is used to inform health and disease risk states beyond the clinic because biomarkers provide objective information about an individual. The use of biomarkers has shown that individuals frequently do not have conscious access to their physiological ...

With increasing frequency, biologically-relevant information is used to inform health and disease risk states beyond the clinic because biomarkers provide objective information about an individual. The use of biomarkers has shown that individuals frequently do not have conscious access to their physiological inner-workings and thus self-report measures may be misleading. Biomarkers may be able to detect health and disease before an individual even realizes there is a risk. Noninvasive biomarkers are advantageous because collection is relatively painless, permits repeated collections, and in many cases can be collected in point-of-care settings. For example, saliva is repeatedly collected in research in settings ranging from the laboratory or clinic to the home or road-side. Initially, noninvasive biomarker information was evaluated largely as proxies for serum or plasma, but increasingly research is designed with the strengths and advantages of each measure in mind. For example, hair collection for steroids has been used to generate cumulative information that would not be possible with blood. The potential magnitude of real-time biomarker information is expansive: many individuals (men and women) can recall an impactful pregnancy test result supplied by an over-the-counter technology.

Arguably the next technological leap is for quantitative biomarker results to be obtained in real-time. Timely information has already begun to revolutionize research applications. For example, real-time autonomic nervous system metrics have shaped biofeedback applications and are beginning to change exercise regimens through small monitoring devices. Noninvasive, point-of-care, quantitative biomarker information may further expand the range of real-time biomarkers. Initial efforts are largely focused on biomarkers with established track records as relevant for health and disease, but in the future novel biomarkers or biomarker panels may emerge that are designed for specific research questions or technological applications.

The advantages of real-time convenient data and information is also illustrated by open-access on-line peer-review publication outlets such as Frontiers. Therefore, this research topic welcomes contributions that broadly fit within 3 complimentary foci about the next directions for biomarker research and applications:
(1) Real-time Biomarkers: It’s about time.
(2) Ambulatory or Point-of-Care Biomarkers: Location is Everything.
(3) Noninvasive Quantitative Biomarkers: Beyond the Clinical Outcome.

Contributions are not limited to salivary biomarkers, but these are especially encouraged. New research is encouraged as Original Research papers, Methods papers, or protocols. Given the novelty of the topic, however, contributions may be Focused Reviews or Mini-Review articles that explore the potential of novel biomarkers. Lastly, skepticism is healthy, so careful critiques and words of caution are welcome as Hypotheses & Theory or Mini-Review articles.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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