Quantitative Analytical Tools in Clinical Research: Findings from the Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis

XI’AN, China, Aug. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Quality assessment is crucial for determining the composition of clinically relevant compounds. For complex formulations, this can be challenging using traditional methods. Quantitative analytical tools like liquid chromatography (LC) and mass spectrometry (MS) enable rapid and sensitive chemical characterizations based on the size and specific properties of biomolecules.

The recent Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis issue features three independent studies that shed light on the diverse applications of these techniques in different fields.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practices are now popular worldwide. Their complex formulations make their characterization challenging using conventional methods. In the first study, researchers from the Zhejiang University, China have characterized TCM drug "QiShenYiQi", used for treating cardiac dysfunction, via multiple reaction monitoring (MRM), an MS based fingerprinting approach. As the lead scientists, Professors Yiyu Cheng and Xiaohui Fan, explain using an interesting analogy, "Video resolution of display devices has evolved from 1080p to 2K, 4K, or even 8K. You could say that our novel fingerprinting method is a "high-definition" method compared to existing techniques, that can offer a higher-resolution glimpse of chemical compositions and quality of complex herbal medicines." Their findings indicate that MRM is a robust and sensitive tool that can simultaneously detect multiple components in complex TCM derivatives.

The second study features a collaborative research team from Canada and Poland, who developed a novel procedure for the real time tissue measurement of drugs administered in vivo using LC-MS. When administering drugs, close monitoring is essential to ensure that tissue levels are optimum; lower levels are likely ineffective and higher doses can be toxic. The team has developed a novel chemical biopsy tool using a solid phase microextraction probe that absorbs compounds from tissue fluid for further analysis using MS. They successfully measured levels of doxorubicin, used to treat metastases, in a lung perfusion mouse model, in a simple and non-invasive manner. Professors Marcelo Cypel and Janusz Pawliszyn, the lead scientists, state, "This technology could help clinicians in the rapid detection and real-time measurement of biomarkers or drugs on-site, thus speeding up the decision-making process on further treatment. In the long run, this approach has potential to become a personalized medicine tool."

In the third study, the chief study in this issue, researchers from China have used high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-MS to characterize "bioactive" compounds from the medicinal plant, Osmanthus fragrans. The researchers have characterized several aromatic and medicinal compounds that are present in trace amounts, using the highly sensitive HPLC-MS technique. Furthermore, they have validated the traditional pharmacological uses of the plant using network pharmacology. "Our analysis shows that O. fragrans roots might be effective for the treatment of inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. This can aid the application of O. fragrans roots in medicinal preparations," states Professor Zilin Chen, the lead scientist of this remarkable study.

These studies shed light on the ease of use, sensitivity, robustness, and high-throughput function of the LC-MS techniques, and establish them as a useful resource in quality assessment and characterization, while barely scratching the surface of their potential.


An ultra-robust fingerprinting method for quality assessment of traditional Chinese medicine using multiple reaction monitoring mass spectrometry

Solid phase microextraction chemical biopsy tool for monitoring of doxorubicin residue during in vivo lung chemo-perfusion

Identification and quantification of the bioactive components in Osmanthus fragrans roots by HPLC-MS/MS

Fen Qiu



SOURCE Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis