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Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) Reports on Mass Spec in Drug Discovery
Date:5/19/2008

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Mass spectrometry, driven by a broad range of improvements in hardware and software technologies, has given rise to an increasing number of applications in the clinic, according to an article in the May 15 issue of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) (http://www.genengnews.com). Mass spec is also playing a greater role in drug discovery due to a growing focus on screening patients through the identification of biomarkers and developing more effective drugs based on structural properties of targets, reports the May 15 issue of GEN (http://www.genengnews.com/articles/chitem.aspx?aid=2469).

"Biomarker discovery has become a major trend for new drug discovery and development," notes John Sterling, Editor-in-Chief, GEN. "With advances continuing to take place in MS instrumentation regarding higher sensitivity, resolution, and throughput, it should come as no surprise that drug discovery scientists around the world are adopting this technique with more frequency."

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, for example, are working to discover cancer biomarkers using patient plasma samples. The proteins that really reflect disease development are low-abundance proteins, which are below the nanogram/mL level. To detect these rare proteins, Dr. Wang's group uses chromatogram-based protein fractionation first, followed by MS analysis.

Perhaps even more difficult to analyze than plasma, cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) poses different challenges. Fundamental studies, like others have done with plasma, need to be carried out to understand the nature of interfering compounds. At Lundbeck Research USA, triple quadrupole MS-MS is used to analyze CSF samples because it is the best way to do quantitative analysis in complex matrices.

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