Speeding the pace of biomarker discovery

von Eschenbach
von Eschenbach

Biomarkers that identify cancer in its early and more treatable stages have emerged as the newest tools in its prevention, diagnosis and treatment. But according to Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a urologic surgeon and oncologist as well as a cancer survivor himself, more effective collaboration among scientists and between the public and private sectors is needed to hasten the discovery of these molecular or cellular indicators of disease states.

“We have enormous talent but we haven’t brought it together,” von Eschenbach said in October at “Discovery to Delivery: A Public Forum About the Future of Cancer Research,” a colloquium sponsored by Yale Cancer Center, Yale-New Haven Hospital and Friends of Cancer Research. “We have superstars, but not a superstar team.”

To bring researchers together, the FDA has joined the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, the National Institutes of Health and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America to launch the Biomarkers Consortium. This public-private biomedical research partnership will make its findings on newly discovered biomarkers available to scientists worldwide.