Peter Calabresi, MD: Utilizing A Uniform Biomarker Assay

October 27, 2018

For the director of the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center, a biomarker is perhaps only as useful as the clinician community’s ability to read out its measurements.

“If you have a really sophisticated immunology lab, it turns out you can pretty much reproduce the Quanterix data, but if you’re new or not paying attention to how the assay runs, there’s potential for a little bit more noise.”

In multiple sclerosis (MS), one of the biggest ongoing conversations surrounds the need for biomarkers of disease activity, specifically those which would allow for better determination of which disease-modifying therapy is best for a given patient. Right now, there are many who believe that biomarker could be neurofilament light.

Although that need is certainly valid, another concern is the development of a universal assay to measure the biomarker in question. For Peter Calabresi, MD, the director of the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center, the biomarker is perhaps only as useful as the clinician community’s ability to read out its measurements.

Additionally, the need for quick results that are easily reproducible has become apparent. This issue compounds when the only current options are so-called “homebrew” kits, which can work but can also lead to inconsistent results. Calabresi noted that Biogen and Siemens are working together toward widely developing a platform as sensitive as what’s available, but could also be uniform and global, in order to allow for identical interpretation.