There has been a long-standing need in biomedical research for a method that quantifies the normally mixed composition of leukocytes beyond what is possible by simple histological or flow cytometric assessments. The latter is restricted by the labile nature of protein epitopes, requirements for cell processing, and timely cell analysis. In a diverse array of diseases and following numerous immune-toxic exposures, leukocyte composition will critically inform the underlying immuno-biology to most chronic medical conditions. Emerging research demonstrates that DNA methylation is responsible for cellular differentiation, and when measured in whole peripheral blood, serves to distinguish cancer cases from controls.
Houseman, Eugene; Accomando, William P.; Koestler, Devin C.; Christensen, Brock C.; and Marsit, Carmen J., "DNA Methylation Arrays as Surrogate Measures of Cell mixture Distribution" (2012). Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles. 567.