Challenges and prospects for biomarker research: a current perspective from the developing world

Shabarni Gupta, Apoorva Venkatesh, Sandipan Ray, Sanjeeva Srivastava*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Majority of deaths due to communicable and non-communicable diseases occur in the low and middle-income nations (LMNs), mainly due to the lack of early diagnoses and timely treatments. In such a scenario, biomarkers serve as an indispensible resource that can be used as indicators of biological processes, specific disease conditions or response to therapeutic interventions. Evaluation, diagnosis and management of diseases in developing world by following/extrapolating the findings obtained on the basis of the research work involving only the populations from the developed countries, could often be highly misleading due to existence of diverse patterns of diseases in developing countries compared to the developed world. Biomarker candidates identified from high-throughput integrated omics technologies have promising potential; however, their actual clinical applications are found to be limited, primarily due to the challenges of disease heterogeneity and pre-analytical variability associated with the biomarker discovery pipeline. Additionally, in the developing world, economic crunches, lack of awareness and education, paucity of biorepositories, enormous diversities in socio-epidemiological background, ethnicity, lifestyle, diet, exposure to various environmental risk factors and infectious agents, and ethical and social issues also cumulatively hinder biomarker discovery ventures. Establishment of standard operating procedures, comprehensive data repositories and exchange of scientific findings are crucial for reducing the variability and fragmentation of data. This review highlights the challenges associated with the discovery, validation and translational phases of biomarker research in LMNs with some of their amenable solutions and future prospects. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Biomarkers: A Proteomic Challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-908
Number of pages10
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Proteins and Proteomics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarker
  • Biorepository
  • Developing world
  • Disease heterogeneity
  • Funding
  • IP issue


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