W. Clarke, J. M. Rhea and R. Molinaro
The use of mass spectrometry (MS) technology as a routine tool in clinical laboratories is a relatively new phenomenon. With the introduction of atmospheric spray ion sources and the emergence of routine liquid chromatography-tandem MS (LC-MS/MS), along with the development of more robust and accessible instruments, MS has become a more viable option for routine testing in clinical laboratories. Currently, two of the major challenges to the implementation of LC-MS/MS in clinical laboratories are the manual nature of the assays and the unfamiliarity with what is commonly mistaken as an insurmountable technique. Unlike methods developed for research use only, methods developed for clinical use must also meet certain regulatory requirements - a less commonly understood process. In this Perspective special feature article, Dr Ross Molinaro (Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta GA) and co-authors describe key diff erences between LC-MS/MS methods for research use versus clinical use, and also address the many challenges facing its implementation in the clinical setting.