CNN recently reported on a simple blood test that may allow doctors to identify a debilitating form of arthritis years before any symptoms appear, which may help to stop the disease in its tracks. The study, published in the February issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism found that markers of inflammation that can be detected in the bloodstream rise long before symptoms of the disease. Using Bio-Rad’s Bioplex and cytokine multiplex bead array, Kokkonen et al. were able to analyze 30 different cytokines and predict with 86 percent accuracy the individuals who would ultimately develop rheumatoid arthritis.
Gone are the days of singleplex ELISAs. Scientists and medical professionals are now acutely aware of the multifactorial nature of disease and the importance of looking at multiple biomarkers to accurately assess biological conditions. Single biomarkers have been found to be largely unpredictable and irrelevant. “Omics” is now the name of the game and the ability to analyze several indicators at once in the appropriate context using analytical tools such as the bioplex will serve to enhance the power of our research and further our understanding of biological processes.