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Improving Patient Care Through Translational Mass Spectrometry

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Featuring: Wake Forest® Baptist Health

Steven Wong, Ph.D., DABCC (TC), FACB, Past President AACC, Professor of Pathology, serves as Director of the Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology Core Laboratory and is Co-director of the Clinical and Translational Mass Spectrometry Center at Wake Forest School of Medicine with over 37 years of experience.

Elizabeth Palavecino, MD, serves as Medical Director of Clinical Microbiology and is Co-director of the Clinical and Translational Mass Spectrometry Center at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Q: Please share details about your institution.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is a nationally prominent academic medical center in Winston-Salem, NC, with an integrated health care network.  The Health System includes an 800+ bed hospital serving both an adult and pediatric population with many specialty centers including Cancer and Transplant.

Q: What are your key translational research areas and goals?

We created this translational research unit to look at ways to create new tests for clinical purposes. For example, we have a large population of immunosuppressed patients, so we need a way of testing immunosuppressants or antifungal panels in a rapid way, but also in a very accurate and reliable way. That’s why we started developing these tests using mass spectrometry.  Additional focus areas include acute kidney injury, drug toxicity, breast cancer, renal metabolomics, and personalized medicine approaches.

Q: How has implementing mass spectrometry helped allow your institution to provide the best patient care?

Mass spectrometry is no longer confined to the research lab but is becoming part of the routine testing in clinical labs. It was really a clinical necessity for our lab. Mass spectrometry can give me the answer reliably because it is very specific and only requires a very small volume.  By bringing the test in house, the turnaround time improved drastically, from 3-4 days to 8-24 hours.  That really helped improve patient care.

Q: Why is the SCIEX Citrine™ MS/MS system the right tool to further your diagnostic work?

First is the performance of the mass spec. It has higher sensitivity and is more flexible. Because we are getting it from the same source, it allowed us to establish redundancy in our testing with the two existing mass spec. The enhanced sensitivity allowed us to engage in low-level toxicology testing. The most infamous example right now is fentanyl which is a very potent drug in low concentration. The sensitivity of the newer mass spec allowed us to do an adequate detection of a very highly potent drug like fentanyl.

We have also had extremely positive interactions with both the support service teams within SCIEX as well as the quick response to our needs and are very pleased with that.Learn More About SCIEX Systems >

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