Bench to Bedside: Advances in Next-Generation Mass Spectrometry

Changing IdeasIf you’re a seasoned reader of this blog, you know we get excited about the many ways mass spectrometry continues to revolutionize both scientific research and practical applications. Last October, distinguished experts in various scientific fields gathered in Chicago to talk about the next generation of clinical mass spectrometry and the future of precision medicine. In this post, we salute these dedicated researchers that we trust, in part, are using dedicated lab furniture like ours to keep their mass specs working quietly and efficiently on all their ground-breaking projects,

Touting Next-Generation Mass Spectrometry at AACC

The Chicago gathering was the American Association for Clinical Chemistry’s fifth annual Mass Spectrometry and Separation Sciences for Laboratory Medicine Conference. Each of the eminent speakers opened a window into their own lab’s work in pioneering clinical mass spectrometry. From various omics biomarkers to toxicology, drug dosing, and tissue imaging, next-generation lab research is making a difference in a variety of fields. Here is what some of the distinguished speakers had to say.

Newborn Metabolic Screening

Michael Bennett, PhD, is professor of pathology at the University of Pennsylvania and also directs The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s clinical chemistry and metabolic disease laboratory. In his presentation, he outlined how mass spectrometry is being used to assess for metabolic disorders in newborn screenings. His team is also profiling organic acids to diagnose a variety of metabolic disorders, especially where secondary xenobiotics have complicated assessments in the past.

Tackling Toxicology Testing

Hans Maurer, PhD, is head of the department of experimental and clinical toxicology and a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Saarland University in Germany. He opened the conference and set the tone with results of his lab’s toxicology innovations using high-resolution mass spectrometry.

Orbitrap and time-of-flight technologies are bringing greater mass detection accuracy to various drug assessment procedures, including screening, metabolism studies, quantitation and monitoring. All this can be done with shorter prep times and smaller samples, easing MS optimization and providing higher selectivity and sensitivity.

Innovative Tissue Imaging

Richard Caprioli, PhD, is director of the Mass Spectrometry Research Center and holds the Stanford Moore Chair in Biochemistry at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He and his colleagues have used an advanced pixel array to illuminate tissue biopsies and laser ablation images at single mass-to-charge values.

This MS technique can be used with single cells or entire research animal sections, and results have already been gleaned with diabetic renal glomerulus, histology-directed analysis using frozen and paraffin-embedded tissues, and diagnosis of malignant melanoma.

Biomarker Advances

Of course, how quickly these exciting next-generation advances take hold is dependent on lab researchers’ capacity to translate emerging biomarkers from bench to bedside. Yan Victoria Zhang, PhD, director of the clinical mass spectrometry and toxicology lab and associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Rochester in New York, discussed this in greater detail.

She shared some of the challenges labs are facing in this field, including human proteome complexity, a dearth of coherent research pipelines, and the need for sample collection standardization. But work is underway, with MS specialists using MALDI and electro-spray platforms to produce integral contributions.

Innovative Dedicated Lab Furniture for Pioneering Lab Work

We are confident that with the help of both mass specs and the dedicated lab furniture on which they stand, there are no limits to the problems mass spectrometry can solve. To learn how our dedicated lab furniture can help your lab get the most out of its MS, contact us today.