Biomarkers are key molecular or cellular events that link a specific environmental exposure to a health outcome. Biomarkers play an important role in understanding the relationships between exposure to environmental chemicals, the development of chronic human diseases, and the identification of subgroups that are at increased risk for disease. Much progress has been made in identifying and validating new biomarkers that can be used in population-based studies of environmental disease.
As part of the new Genes and Environment Initiative, the NIEHS is supporting the development of new technologies that will enable scientists to study how the body responds to environmental agents. Such technologies include sensitive biomarkers that can measure subtle changes in inflammation, oxidative damage, and other pathways that can lead to disease.
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What is NIEHS Doing?
NIEHS Research Efforts
- Biomarkers of Exposure to Hazardous Substances - The ability of researchers to analyze hazardous material in waste sites has improved dramatically, however they are very limited in their ability to trace the movement of hazardous materials from Superfund sites or to prioritize and mitigate the hazards involved. The ability to predict exposure or effect of these materials on humans and their environment is still more limited. This Program consists of seven integrated projects, two research support cores, a training core, a research translation core and an administrative core to address these problems.
- Biomarkers in Oxidative Stress Study (BOSS) - NIEHS Division of Intramural Research has established an initiative to conduct a comparative study of biomarkers of oxidative stress (BOSS) in order to find out whether a fingerprint for measurement of oxidative stress exists.
- ClinicalTrials.gov listing of NIEHS Biomarkers studies - ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world.
- Cross-Divisional Inflammation Faculty - The cross-divisional inflammation faculty is a trans-NIEHS collaboration on cutting-edge research related to Inflammation.
Stories from the Environmental Factor (NIEHS Newsletter)
- Seminar Highlights Emerging Biomarkers of Inflammation (March 2015)
- Falk Lecture Spotlights Biomarkers for Cancer (December 2014)
- TSPO — A Biomarker of Brain Injury and Inflammation (October 2014)
- New Exposure Biomarkers Enhance Breast Cancer Research (June 2014)
- Validating Hair as A Biomarker of Manganese Exposure (March 2013)
Printable Fact Sheets
- Your Environment. Your Health. (NIEHS Pocket Card) (149KB)
- Tox21: Understanding the Potential Health Risks of Chemicals (442KB)
Related Health Topics
- Schmidt CW. Signs of the Times: Biomarkers in Perspective. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2006;114(12):A700-A705. [Abstract Schmidt CW. Signs of the Times: Biomarkers in Perspective. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2006;114(12):A700-A705.] [PDF Schmidt CW. Signs of the Times: Biomarkers in Perspective. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2006;114(12):A700-A705.]