Bringing proteomics into the clinic: The need for the field to finally take itself seriously


  • Lennart Martens

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biochemistry, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
    • Department of Medical Protein Research, Ghent, Belgium
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Correspondence: Professor Lennart Martens, Department of Medical Protein Research, VIB, Ghent University, A. Baertsoenkaai 3, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium


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Proteomics has fast become a standard tool in the life sciences, with increasingly sophisticated approaches and instruments delivering ever growing numbers of identified and quantified proteins. Yet despite the enormous technological progress, and the triumphant papers published on whole-cell proteomes being collected and analyzed, proteomics has so far failed to enter the clinic for routine applications. This is a peculiar contradiction, and one that warrants some closer study. I here argue that for proteomics to make a difference in the clinic, it needs to stop shirking responsibility, and to mature into an analytical, transparent, and reproducible discipline that also invests in the consolidation of its technology rather than only focusing on the next big leap forward. A key enabling factor in this maturation process is quality control and quality assurance, with bioinformatics, in its least noticeable but most influential form, as a key underlying technology.