Intrinsic to ageing research is to find out how the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of ageing contribute to age-related pathology and what might be the best targets for intervention. The development of biomarkers of human ageing is both extremely important and very challenging, reflecting the complex, heterogeneous and gradual nature of the ageing process and its contributions to disease.

We are trying to identify and validate biomarkers of ageing that can then be used to inform assessments of interventions and their impacts on disease progression. We also want to advance scientific understanding of the still elusive concept of 'frailty' and to understand the interaction between frailty, co-morbidity and treatment in the older individual through improved knowledge of target mechanisms, coupled with development of relevant biomarkers.

Biomarker Assay Service

The Biomarkers Facility at the Campus for Ageing and Vitality, is a NIHR Biomedical Research Centre/Biomedical Research Unit funded lab with extended experience on a variety of procedures regularly involved in clinical ageing research, from the handling of blood samples and generation of suitable conditioned material and aliquots for further analysis to more specific assays such as analysis of white blood cells DNA damage and repair capability, telomere length measurements by qPCR and ApoE genotyping as well as a wide variety of biomarker assays related to heart failure, inflammation, insulin-like growth factor binding proteins, etc.

Our set-up, without being described as high-throughput, allows for the processing of large numbers of samples on a regular basis which often fits the needs of clinical research projects with a constant recruitment of participants and collection of samples. It is this "intermediate" capability that has made our team and our facility suitable in the context of several research projects, including MRC and BBSRC funded projects such as the Newcastle 85+ study, Newcastle Thousand Families and HALCyon and enabled the involvement of the facility in collaborative research with other national and international Universities (Boston, USA; Leiden, Netherlands; Keio University, Tokyo, Japan; InChianti Study, Parma University, Italy) and with industrial partners (Unilever, Procter and Gamble).

We offer a wide range of procedures with very flexible costs according to the magnitude of the study. Beyond those assays already available in our lab, we can also assist researchers with the development of reliable assays for new biomarkers and overall costings for grant applications.

Routine procedures include:
  • Processing of blood samples
  • Isolation of Cells from Blood Sample
  • Cryogenic conditioning of blood cell pellets
  • DNA isolation
  • RNA isolation
  • Measurement of Telomere length by qPCR
  • Genotyping of Mice from Ear Notches
  • Genotyping of DNA samples
  • Analysis of RNA expression by RT qPCR
  • Plasma/Serum Biomarker assesment by Sandwich ELISA
  • Analysis of cultured cells DNA damage and repair
For further details and costs of analysis, please contact Dr. Carmen Martin-Ruiz