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Mass Spec on the March

Mass spec is taking over the world, pharma researcher Derek Lowe writes this week on his blog In The Pipeline.

Or, at least, it's taking over his world, which is to say, the world of biopharma research.

The technology might still be struggling for acceptance in realms like clinical proteomics, but in biopharma "there are just so many things that you can do with modern instrumentation that the assays and techniques just keep on coming," Lowe writes, singling out a recent paper in Angewandte Chemie in which researchers used MALDI mass spec to detect deacetylation on a histone peptide.

The assay offers an alternative to fluorescence-based assays that, Lowe notes, have "(notoriously) been shown to cause artifacts."

And this example isn't a one-off, he adds. A number of such mass spec-based assays have been published in journals, with even more unpublished examples "worked out inside various biopharma companies for their own uses."