Mass Spec Technology Advances Open Doors in Research and Clinical Applications

PioneeringWe like keeping up with what’s happening in the world of mass spectrometry. After all, support for the technology means more than a safe and solid bench to place your MS on. In the century since its invention, mass spec technology advancements keep on coming. In this post, we want to celebrate three specific ways in which MS continues to evolve.

Expanding LC-MS/MS into Routine Clinical Settings

Mass spec technology advancements are increasingly arriving in local clinical settings. Instrument design has downsized significantly, allowing for simplified, standardized diagnostic kits to replace lab testing. This past summer, two instruments were launched that provide “industry-first” clinical lab results.

After six years in development, Thermo Fisher Scientific is close to launching the premier fully integrated LC-MS/MS clinical analyzer: Cascadion SM. Its specially designed reagent kit requires minimal interaction by people who are not experts with MS technology. SCIEX also launched an LC-MS system designed particularly for clinical diagnostics. They have adapted their existing Topaz™ system to allow LC-MS to be more accessible and comprehensible to staff in clinical labs.

Standardization is key to the success of both these mass spec technology advancements, especially since the FDA is guiding away from LDTs. By moving toward automation in a clinical setting, med techs can be more easily trained in operating and sustaining clinical processes. Improvements in procedures are already forecast for renal cell carcinoma diagnostics and genetic testing for opioid addiction risk.

Bruker’s New Tech Platform: TimsTOFTM

Bruker has created a flexible mass spec that optimizes separation and analysis using Ion Mobility Expansion that has the highest ion mobility resolution in the industry. Previously, research and practical applications were limited by the physical size of IMS systems, but they created a compact TIMS with resolution greater than 200. TIMS also allows accurate assessment of collisional cross sections and gas-phase protein structure and aggregation. Users can also develop their own analytical algorithms because their platform employs the *.tdf open data format based on SQLite. Bruker also supplies data analysis software to maximize interactive analysis of higher-resolution ion mobility data.

Mass Spec Technology Advancements for 2D-LC Methodologies

Two-dimensional liquid chromatography (2D-LC) is evolving from lab-constructed jury-rigged type systems (hopefully well-supported on our dedicated lab furniture) to commercial 2D-LC instruments that allow more robust performance and integration with other processes. Techs can now easily switch between selective and comprehensive 2D-LC with enhanced instrument control. Pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical laboratories are taking note.

Commercial 2D-LC has previously transformed small-molecule analysis, usually focused on single-peak heart cutting. Problems remained, however. For example, orthogonal selectivity in the second dimension was limited to using simple heart-cutting LC–LC for single peak transfer. Researchers were challenged by the slow speed of chiral separations, which limited the use of chiral stationary phases (CSPs) as the second dimension, particularly when using the comprehensive mode. Now, however, multiple groups of researchers have proven that chiral separations in either or both dimensions of 2D-LC pharmaceuticals separations produce excellent division of mixtures that were difficult to resolve.

Supporting Mass Spectrometry Evolution

We celebrate these mass spec technology advancements and trust that more are on the way. At this point, mass spec technology permeates every genre of science and is used in a seemingly endless variety of helpful applications.

As mass spec technology evolves, you may find that your lab configuration needs change. Secure and customizable solutions for supporting your equipment are available. Our IonBench MS provides more than adequate support for all MS equipment, and help further the research being done and the advances made. If you know of further mass spec technology advancements we should celebrate here, please contact us today.