MSK Researchers Develop High-Sensitivity Mass Spec Assay for Clinical Cancer Work

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have developed a mass spec workflow capable of measuring peptides in biological samples at zeptomolar concentrations.

According to Alex Kentsis, a pediatric oncologist at MSK and leader of the effort, the researchers are now implementing a CLIA version of the method that they plan to use in upcoming clinical trials to measure cancer signaling activity with the ultimate aim of guiding patient treatment.

Described in a study published last month in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, the project began as an effort to determine just how sensitive a high-resolution, high mass accuracy trapping instrument like an Orbitrap could be compared to beam instruments like triple quadrupoles, which, Kentsis noted, are the traditional workhouses for quantitative mass spec.

The researchers investigated this question on Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Orbitrap Fusion Hybrid instrument, which combines a quadrupole with an Orbitrap and linear ion trap.

“We had this new instrument, and, of course, with any new instrument you want to benchmark its performance,” Kentsis said. “And we were surprised to find that, actually, the sensitivity that we could obtain exceeded all kinds of conventional measures.”

Ultimately, he said, they were able to achieve “not

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