Identifying Biomarkers of Frailty

The Need

There are many frailty assessment tools used to detect the presence and degree of frailty in both clinical practice and in research. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and degree of subjectivity. Frailty biomarkers have the potential to be complimentary to clinical frailty evaluation and aid in its diagnosis, assessment of severity, assessment of risk and help in assessment of prognosis

Frailty biomarkers may lead to the identification of mechanisms and pathways leading to or causing frailty, and the early identification of frailty which may be reversible in early stages. As well, identification of frailty may lead to better health outcomes as treatment plans adjust for specific interventions for frailty. Biomarkers may also help with the selection of interventions, monitoring of response to treatments, and identify those who may not respond well or benefit from specific treatments on an individual basis leading to more personalized care.

Our Initiative

CFN has assembled a multidisciplinary Steering Committee of CFN clinicians and scientists, and international experts, to guide this important evidence-based endeavour. We are developing recommendations through a combination of face-to-face consensus meeting with content experts and stakeholders from across Canada, and internationally.

Meet our expert Steering Committee

Meeting of international experts

CFN hosted a workshop in Toronto on January 15, 2018, bringing together experts in the field of biomarkers, aging and frailty. The overall objectives of the workshop were to start building a consensus on potential frailty biomarker domains and identify specific frailty biomarkers to be measured in CLSA biological samples. Participants and speakers were from Canada, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.

Click here to read a published report on the meeting proceedings, including presentations and tables.

Findings from the workshop are helping CFN and CLSA plan and conduct the analysis of biomarkers in the CLSA samples and which will inform a follow-up data access competition.

Partnering with Leaders

Canadian Frailty Network has partnered with the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging (CLSA), the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA) and Metabolon, Inc. to discover the frailty biomarkers that may shed light on why some people become frail, determine the severity of frailty and what can be done to help avoid the condition.

The collaborative partnership will develop a $4-million research program to perform large-scale metabolomic profiling and biomarker identification on samples from the CLSA, Canada’s largest and most comprehensive study on aging. Metabolomics is the process of measuring small molecules in blood and tissues, which can help scientists and clinicians identify biomarkers for diseases or health conditions, such as frailty. In total, 10,000 blood samples collected from participants in the CLSA will be analyzed for both metabolomic and inflammatory biomarkers linked to frailty. Two additional biomarkers linked to aging will be analyzed from blood samples provided by 30,000 participants.

Click here to read more about this partnership.

Learn More about Biomarkers

What is a biomarker?

Biomarkers are distinct biological indicators (cellular, biochemical or molecular) of a process, event or condition that can be measured reliably in tissues, cells or fluids, and can be used to detect early changes in a person’s health. Some examples of biomarkers include body temperature for fever and blood cholesterol, a well-known biomarker of risk for  heart disease.

The importance of biomarkers continues to grow in all areas of clinical practice and, whether to predict, diagnose, or monitor disease, biomarkers are useful in every step of patient care. A biomarker may be used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition. Predictive biomarkers help to assess the most likely response to a particular treatment type, while prognostic markers shows the progression of disease with or without treatment.

For More Information on this Initiative

Perry Kim, PhD

Assistant Scientific Director

research@cfn-nce.ca