Features September 2007 Issue

Biomarkers Provide Clues to Earlier Diagnoses

Tiny molecules in the bloodstream may help doctors identify heart disease sooner, which could lead to more timely treatments.

Some of the smallest particles in the bloodstream are giving doctors a big boost in their efforts at diagnosing heart disease. Biomarkers, which are peptides and other small molecules that indicate the presence or activity of a disease, usually circulate in small, undetectable quantities. While biomarkers exist in healthy bodies, their numbers can grow once an organ is in a distressed or diseased state.

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