Is the term BioMarker being used properly or am I a pedantic nut?

Over the last few months we have posted several articles on biomarker research. It seems that wherever you look, people are engaged in biomarker studies and are trying to find biomarkers for one type of condition or another. While the concept of finding biological indicators that can identify those at risk of developing pathogenic processes or individuals who respond favorably to a given therapeutic is the ultimate goal of biomarker research, it is questionable whether scientist are indeed engaging in biomarker research as intended.

According to D. Martins-de-Souza from the Max Plank Institute of Psychiatry, Proteomics and Biomarkers in Germany, the use of the word “biomarker” has increased exponentially in recent years. A Pubmed search of the term “biomarker” returns more than 470,000 articles published within the last 10-15 years.

Is the overuse (misuse?) of the word biomaker harmful to proteomic researchers? Must reviewers insist that the strict definition of the word biomarker as defined by the US Food and Drug Administration be adhered to when publishing in peer reviewed journals? Or am I just a pedantic nut?!?


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