Cancer Biomarkers: Minimal and Noninvasive Early Diagnosis
This book, Cancer Biomarkers: Minimal and Noninvasive Early Diagnosis and Prognosis edited by Debmalya Barh, Angelo Carpi, Mukesh Verma, and Mehmet Gunduz, covers an important and rapidly evolving topic. It is informative, comprehensive, and timely. The chapters have been contributed by international scholars. Topics are presented principally by cancer type (covering most common cancers) with introductory chapters on such topics as biomarker discovery, quality control, imaging techniques, innovative tools, nanodiagnostics, and mitochondrial DNA, stem cell, salivary, and miRNA biomarkers.
This book is particularly timely because the field of biomarkers will see explosive growth over the next decade. There are several reasons for this: (1) the various “omics” revolutions (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, etc.) have provided comprehensive parts lists, thus enabling biomarker discovery; (2) advances in information technology and in particular our ability to gather, store, mine, and transmit large data sets (from which biomarkers will be identified) has exploded; and (3) technologies for probing human pathophysiologic processes both invasively and noninvasively are becoming smaller, cheaper, and more robust. Finally, patients are more engaged, informed, and empowered with regard to their medical care than they have ever been. They may well contribute important information on disease processes from the “field.” Thus, biomarkers for disease diagnosis, prognosis, prediction, and treatment will likely increase rapidly in the near future. There will nevertheless be important challenges. These include funding for biomarker discovery research, the need for close industry–academic–health center collaborations, barriers to commercialization, regulatory requirements, and so on. Such issues are highlighted in many of the chapters in this book.
A few other general pointers about biomarkers, and cancer biomarkers in particular, are worth mentioning. The source of the biomarker may reside in the cancer cell but may equally well be in cancer stroma, that is, in cancer-associated fibroblasts, invading immune cells, endothelial cells, etc. It may also be that certain biomarkers will be produced in organs far from the tumor, for example, by liver, fat, or muscle tissue or by immune cells in lymph nodes or spleen, and that these may reflect various facets of cancer biology. Particular attention should be paid to biomarkers that are pathophysiologic, that is, ones that not only reflect the underlying disease process but that, if countered, would impact disease progression. These biomarkers would then be drug targets.
This book focuses on noninvasive or minimally invasive molecular cancer markers that are in use or under development. The significance of these is that they generally pose relatively minimal risk to patients and could thus be assessed multiple times in the course of the disease. Finding biomarkers of this type that are also pathophysiology related, as defined earlier, would be a particularly laudable goal. Thus, the book is a unique effort and a readily available resource for next-generation cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy.
This book will benefit scientists working in the field of biomarkers in academia, in industry, and in regulatory affairs as well as clinicians, including medical oncologists, radiation therapists, surgeons, internists, and others who care for cancer patients. At the end of the day, biomarkers will foster the more rapid introduction of drugs and that too for the right patients, at the right time, and in the right doses— personalized/precision medicine at its best.
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