Trace Matters Scientific today introduced SPion ™ -a revolutionary technology that enables the world's most sensitive and versatile remote analysis with mass spectrometry. Until now, a lack of proper instrumentation for efficient ion transfer from a remotely located sample to the mass spectrometer made sensitive in situ analysis for such a sample nearly impossible. SPion™ overcomes this major roadblock by redefining the front-end architecture of a mass spectrometer and transforming it into a simple lightweight handheld probe. SPion™ allows scientists to bring the accuracy and specificity of a mass spectrometer to their sample in native state, and experience unprecedented sensitivity in remote analysis. This allows for, amongst other applications, in vivo or living sample molecular profiling. This will be revolutionary for health and biological sciences including cancer surgery because the tissue or sample doesn't need to be altered or treated to sensitively measure the biomarkers.
SPion™ addresses one of the significant challenges that had remained unsolved for many decades in the field of mass spectrometry: the capability to efficiently transfer ions over relatively long distances, similar to how photons are contained and guided through optical fibers. Mass spectrometry is one of the most powerful techniques for capturing molecular information and is a power tool for precision and personalized medicine. The capabilities that SPion™ brings to the table extends the use of mass spectrometry to even more applications, importantly, point-of-care in vivo direct tissue analysis. Our goal is to turn a mass spec into a medical device -a tool that will provide highly accurate tissue biopsy results in real-time in the operating room."
Mazdak Taghioskoui, Ph.D., Trace Matters Scientific's CEO and the inventor of the technology
The in vivo sample analysis capability is a game changer because it allows observing the biology and chemistry of living tissue without disruption. Typically, samples must be removed for analysis, and in the process, a great deal of time and accuracy is sacrificed. In addition to producing more relevant data via in vivo analysis, SPion™ addresses many problems associated with ex vivo techniques, such as tedious sample preparation, cross-contamination, bias trends, and instability of analytes. With SPion™, it is now possible to produce molecular information directly from a living tissue with the same sensitivity of a standard mass spectrometer.
In the first ever implementation of this technology, Trace Matters is working with Nathalie Agar, Ph.D., Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at Harvard Medical School to demonstrate the technology in cancer surgery. "Over the past decade, the focus of my research has been on the potential of mass spectrometry in supporting and guiding surgical decision-making, with the goal of fully integrating mass spectrometry in the clinical setting," said Professor Agar, the director of the Surgical Molecular Imaging Laboratory at the Brigham. "We are happy to have the opportunity to work on validating, optimizing, and implementing this new exciting technology."
Trace Matters is planning to present the results at the 68th ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics (ASMS) 2020 in Houston, TX.