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What is Procalcitonin?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2016
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In the study of modern chemistry and anatomy, procalcitonin is a type of chemical called a peptide precursor. This chemical element is the precursor to the hormone in the body that is called calcitonin. A peptide precursor is an element that, when properly chemically modified, for instance in the process called translation, can transform into something that works like a different element. In this case, the procalcitonin is the precursor of calcitonin.

Calcitonin is a naturally appearing substance in the body that scientists have identified as reducing blood calcium. It works against other elements to preserve a balance in the blood. Procalcitonin is useful since it is a chemical that can be used diagnostically to predict future levels of calcitonin in advance.

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Procalcitonin has some general medical uses that have become common ways to measure certain kinds of illnesses. This chemical is often used to measure the risk of sepsis, where bacterial infection of the blood can cause extremely dangerous health issues. Doctors might use measurements of this chemical to evaluate the overall bacterial condition in order to consider whether to prescribe antibiotics or pursue other kinds of treatment. Since sepsis is an often deadly condition threatening many thousands of patients around the globe each year, procalcitonin is becoming a very valuable “clinical tool” for the world’s medical community. Early detection of sepsis can change medical outcomes dramatically, and that is why researchers on preventable disease continue to look at ultramodern diagnostic tools like sepsis markers for possible adoption as a standard of care in modern medical facilities.

Pneumonia and other health issues can also be diagnosed with the help of procalcitonin. Using procalcitonin measures and other diagnostic methods, doctors can more accurately prescribe treatments that, if not balance and customized for a patient, could end up being harmful. Research into the use of hormonal elements like these might help future medical workers to become even more skilled at providing just the right kind of treatment for a particular patient.

In medical research the relation between procalcitonin and calcitonin illustrates how a peptide might change through a process called “translation.” Chemistry students study these specific kinds of chemical changes in order to understand how an element might be applied to different uses in its different forms. Advancing the use of “formulated” chemicals is one way to drive further medical progress in the twenty first century.

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