The distribution of a drug within the body can now be tracked and mapped thanks to a team from Purdue University in the US led by R Graham Cooks, the Henry Bohn Hass Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.
He has developed a tool that analyses where a drug is circulated and where it accumulates, which is critical for evaluating its effectiveness and potential for toxicity.
The open search is based on a new mass spectrometry method. Most require expensive markers to illuminate the molecule and pre-treat the sample with chemicals. Cooks’ technique can evaluate an untreated sample.
He said: “A marker limits what can be detected. You have to know ahead of time what you want to highlight in order to choose the appropriate marker, and all you can then see is what has been marked.
“An open search eliminates this, and shows the full spectrum of molecules. A drug can break down into many different molecules, and you don’t always know what you will find.”
A paper detailing the research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.
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