Over the past 10 years, liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MC/MS) has evolved into a highly efficient and specific analytical method, suitable for a growing range of clinical applications. Although powerful, the lack of standardization of LC-MS/MS methods has been a barrier to the more widespread adoption of the technique by clinical laboratories. Professor Brian Keevil, Consultant Clinical Scientist and Head of the Clinical Biochemistry Department at the University Hospital of South Manchester, believes that dedicated, standardized clinical LC-MS/MS technology could help establish LC-MS/MS as a preferred method for routine clinical testing.
Why is standardization so important?
To date, the norm for clinical laboratories has been to use a wide range of techniques and equipment, which can differ within facilities and between labs. This lack of standardization makes it particularly difficult for laboratories to control their results, as there is the potential for variation depending on which method is currently being used. At the same time, inter-laboratory discrepancies are not uncommon, with two or more laboratories performing the same measurement and obtaining different results.
Overall, the lack of standardization could reduce the reliability of results, leading to the wrong diagnosis and treatment, and having a significant impact on patient care. “Standardization is necessary to ensure we obtain accurate and precise results that are consistent and comparable over time and among different laboratories,” explains Professor Keevil.
Additionally, without standardized LC-MS/MS methods, laboratories must develop their own reference ranges in-house, which can be a laborious and costly task that requires a degree of expertise.
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How could this issue be resolved?
Prof. Keevil believes a dedicated, fully integrated LC-MS/MS system designed to facilitate standardization could enable scientists working in different laboratories to use the exact same instrument, columns, reagents, calibrators, protocols and methods to generate consistent, reliable and reproducible results. Additionally, the ideal system should be automated and easy-to-use even by the most junior staff. Such a system could facilitate plug-and-play, walk-away operation which could prove to be particularly useful in laboratories with and without LC-MS/MS experienced personnel.
We’ve got the solution
The revolutionary new Thermo Scientific™ Cascadion™ SM Clinical Analyzer is being developed to enable clinical laboratories to benefit from a fully integrated, fully automated LC-MS/MS system designed to unleash the full power of this superior technology. Developed as a complete, easy-to-use LC-MS/MS system, the Cascadion analyzer has been designed and built using Thermo Fisher Scientific products and technologies. Pending regulatory approvals, the analyzer will become commercially available in Europe, followed by the U.S.
To find out more, visit www.thermofisher.com/Cascadion
Product in development and not available for sale. Product not CE marked or FDA 510(k) cleared.