Clinical OMICS

MAY-JUN 2017

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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26 Clinical OMICs May/June 2017 www.clinicalomics.com T here is nothing uncommon about finding a mass spectrometer (MS) in the research labs of academia and pharmaceutical companies, or even in the clinical labs of major hospitals and academic medical centers. For decades it has been a valuable tool in these settings for the detection of small molecules and for immunosuppressant monitoring, along with its prominent role in phar- macokinetic studies in drug clinical trials. But today, due to significant improvements in the sensitivity and specificity of mass spec instruments, along with more powerful bioinformatics, the technology is playing an increasingly important role in the detection and analysis of metab- olites and proteins that serve as biomarkers for a range of diseases (see page 28). "Our ability to map out the proteomic land- scape within tumor tissue has steadily grown over the past two decades," said Iain Mylchreest, Ph.D., vice president, R&D analytical instruments, Thermo Fisher Scientific. "Advances in mass spec- trometry and informatics now allow us to study protein samples on an unprecedented scale with increased depth of analysis both qualitatively and quantitatively." These improvements in MS technologies have helped spur researchers working in a number of different areas including infectious diseases, automimmune dis- eases, and cancer, among others. "With the introduction of the orbitrap family of instruments, where you are getting both high sensitivity and high resolution, you can do both identification and verification with a simple instrument for PRM experiments," said Vathany Kulasingam, Ph.D., a clinical biochemist at University Health Network, Toronto, whose work focuses on identifying protein biomarkers in ovarian cancer. "That has helped to almost revolutionize the way we approach our pipeline. "When we first started in the mid 2000s, we used the LTQ ring ion traps and we could identify 200, 300, 400 proteins, and we were really excited about that," Massive Potential As Mass Spectrometry's Accuracy and Specificity Improves, It Breaks New Ground in Proteomics, Metabolomics and Diagnostics Chris Anderson Editor in Chief "The idea is to develop a diagnostic kit that will be available in a high- throughput format, to run in a clinical mass spec lab." —Amrit Cheema, Georgetown University School of Medicine

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