On 28 August at 13:15 Max Hecht will defend his thesis “Advances in the development of a point-of-care mass spectrometer test” for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Chemistry).
Koit Herodes (PhD), University of Tartu, Institute of Chemistry
Karin Kipper (PhD), University of Tartu, Institute of Chemistry
Melanie Bailey (PhD), Surrey University, United Kindom
To improve the early diagnosis of diseases at the medical examination, as well as to safeguard patients taking strong medication through therapeutic drug monitoring, an on-site testing method was developed and evaluated. By using mass spectrometry as means of detection, one device could be used to determine multiple parameters. Currently available tests are mostly specific to one analyte at a time
The method, labelled Sponge Spray Ionisation, combines the benefits of volumetric absorptive microsampling devices with the selectivity of a mass spectrometer, even without the need to prepare the sample. By collecting a small fixed volume of blood, plasma or urine and analysing it in a dry or wet state, the concentration of the antibiotic penicillin G and the opioid methadone could be estimated in as little as 5 minutes. The largest drawbacks of the test in its current state of development were insufficient sensitivity and not fully implemented automation to improve reproducibility.
The use and benefit of the limit of detection as an experimentally established parameter during bioanalytical method validation was discussed.
Furthermore, traditional laboratory-based methods for future adoption towards point-of-care test were developed. One was used to diagnose the rare MNGIE-disease and a second to rapidly test recreational ecstasy tablets in only 36 seconds. To investigate potentially harmful drugs added to ecstasy tablets, a large panel of over 100 drugs was measured within a single analysis run on a miniaturised mass spectrometer.
The possibility to quantify many different chemicals and biomarkers from a limited sample is the true strength of mass spectrometry and should be exploited further in future.