June 16, 2024

New Framework Proposed to Standardize Biomarkers of Aging and Accelerate Clinical Use

Biomarkers, which are measurable characteristics used to assess normal biological processes, diseases, or treatment responses, have gained traction in recent years for their potential in predicting longevity and quality of life through the evaluation of biological aging. However, the development and validation of biomarkers of aging lack standardized guidelines, making it difficult to ensure accuracy and reliability in clinical settings. Addressing this issue, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital have introduced a framework for the validation of aging biomarkers that could facilitate their translation into actionable tools.

To create the framework, the team analyzed population-based cohort studies that utilized omic data to develop blood-based biomarkers of aging. Through this examination, they identified challenges, including discrepancies in study design, data collection methods, and population-specific traits, which hinder the comparison of biomarker predictive strength.

The authors then proposed recommendations to overcome these difficulties. They suggested the adoption of multi-omic approaches, which utilize various technologies such as metabolomics, proteomics, epigenetics, and transcriptomics, to gain deeper insights into biomarker predictive performance. In addition to mortality, the researchers urged the consideration of biomarker associations with other health factors like functional decline, frailty, chronic disease, and disability. Furthermore, the standardization of omic data was recommended to enhance validation efforts.

The validation of biomarkers of aging greatly benefits from omics and biomarkers harmonization initiatives like the Bio-learn project, according to co-first author Mahdi Moqri, Ph.D., from the Division of Genetics.

The framework also emphasizes the importance of collaboration among research groups to conduct large-scale, longitudinal studies that can monitor long-term physiological changes and responses to therapeutics in diverse populations. More research is needed to understand how the implementation of biomarker evaluation in clinical trials could enhance patient quality of life and survival.

Co-first author Jesse Poganik, Ph.D., from the Division of Genetics, stated that reliable and validated biomarkers of aging are crucial if clinical trials for interventions that extend healthy human lifespan are to be conducted. The framework aims to prioritize the most promising biomarkers and provide healthcare providers with clinically valuable and actionable tools.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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