Mass Spectrometry in the Clinical Laboratory


Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) has seen enormous growth in clinical laboratories during the last 10–15 years. It offers analytical specificity superior to that of immunoassays or conventional high performance/pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) for low molecular weight analytes and has higher throughput than gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Drug/Toxicology and Biochemical Genetics/Newborn Screening laboratories were at the vanguard of clinical LC-MS/MS use, but have been eclipsed by Endocrine laboratories. In reference/referral laboratories, most steroids and biogenic amines are now assayed by LC-MS/MS, and the technology has started to penetrate into smaller laboratories. Assays for mineralo- and gluco-corticoids and their precursors, sex steroids, metanephrines and 25-hydroxy vitamin D highlight the advantages of LC-MS/MS.

To reduce matrix effects, a good sample preparation method upfront of these LC-MS/MS analyses is often required to exclude interfering compounds – especially the proteins. All commonly used methods - Protein Precipitation (PP), Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) and Liquid Liquid Extraction (LLE) - have specific disadvantages: difficult to automate, time-consuming and/or economically unfavorable. 

MagSiMUS magnetic bead-based biological sample preparation kits are especially developed for protein depletion and removal of other interfering compounds from biological samples like whole blood, serum, plasma or urine. They work according to the unique and innovative negative selection technology, which removes the contaminants and leaves the target molecules in the supernatant.