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Ion Mobility In Clinical Analysis: Current Progress And Future Perspectives

Christopher D Chouinard, Michael S Wei, Christopher R Beekman, Robin H J Kemperman, Richard A Yost

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Abstract BACKGROUND Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) is a rapid separation tool that can be coupled with several sampling/ionization methods, other separation techniques (e.g., chromatography), and various detectors (e.g., mass spectrometry). This technique has become increasingly used in the last 2 decades for applications ranging from illicit drug and chemical warfare agent detection to structural characterization of biological macromolecules such as proteins. Because of its rapid speed of analysis, IMS has recently been investigated for its potential use in clinical laboratories. CONTENT This review article first provides a brief introduction to ion mobility operating principles and instrumentation. Several current applications will then be detailed, including investigation of rapid ambient sampling from exhaled breath and other volatile compounds and mass spectrometric imaging for localization of target compounds. Additionally, current ion mobility research in relevant fields (i.e., metabolomics) will be discussed as it pertains to potential future application in clinical settings. SUMMARY This review article provides the authors' perspective on the future of ion mobility implementation in the clinical setting, with a focus on ambient sampling methods that allow IMS to be used as a “bedside” standalone technique for rapid disease screening and methods for improving the analysis of complex biological samples such as blood plasma and urine.