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Biomarker Discovery in Gulf War Veterans: Development of a War Illness Diagnostic Panel

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Technical Report,20 Sep 2014,19 Sep 2015

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Baylor University Waco

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At least one in four of the nearly 700,000 U.S. veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War are affected by Gulf War illness GWI, the chronic condition currently defined only by veterans self-reported symptoms. Previous studies have identified neurological, inflammatory, endocrine, and hematological measures that significantly distinguish groups of GWI cases from controls. Using state-of-the-art biodiscovery techniques, the present study is designed to identify a biological signature for GWI that can be used clinically as a diagnostic blood test. A multiphase case-control design is used to canvas a broad spectrum of blood analytes in three independent samples of Gulf War veterans. The multiplex assay platform includes a diverse array of cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, hormones, hematological measures, and neurotrophic factors, and provides highly replicable and accurate quantitative values for each analyte. The pattern of analytes whose values most reliably distinguish veterans with GWI from healthy controls in the first two development samples will be assembled, and tested in the third validation sample, to determine the tests sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing GWI andor identified GWI subgroups. If successful, the availability of an objective test for diagnosing GWI will be immensely beneficial to veterans and their healthcare providers, and provide an important tool for improving research to better understand and treat GWI.

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