Abnormalities in clinical parameters and routine laboratory tests are frequently detected at late stages of many diseases (too late to cure or to prevent life-threatening complications). Hence earlier diagnostic and prognostic markers are needed for decision making and improving therapeutic outcome. In the present issue of Clinical Science, Rudiger and co-workers report findings from a transcriptomic study, which revealed that changes in transcripts involved in amino-sugar metabolism, p53-dependent cell-cycle arrest, β-adrenergic signalling and intracellular calcium cycling in cardiac tissue of rats with early sepsis could discriminate survivors from non-survivors. These findings underscore the great potential of systems biology in translational medicine. However, further investigations should be done to make the benchside results more feasible for routine clinical practice.

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