Application of AMS to the biomedical sciences

J. S. Vogel, Ken W Turteltaub, J. S. Felton, B. L. Gledhill, D. E. Nelson, J. R. Southon, I. D. Proctor, J. C. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Radio-isotopic tracers are a useful tool in numerous areas of biomedical research, including metabolism, pharmacokinetics, and the detailed study of biomolecular interactions. Accelerator mass spectrometry was suggested as a tool for the biomedical sciences shortly after its invention, but few attempts to use its sensitivity in such research have been reported. We have examined some of the strengths and limitations of the technique and find that AMS has a sensitivity advantage over decay-counting for the long-lived radio-isotopes and for shorter-lived, common radiotracers. The advantage can be translated into the use of much smaller sample sizes and much lower radio-isotope concentrations, both of which present new opportunities for biochemical tracing and human research. New approaches to separation and preparation of the material to be assayed for radio-tracers will be developed to take advantage of the sensitivity and specificity. Most biochemical laboratories have used radioactive isotopes as tracers and their facilities have been contaminated with unacceptably high levels of these tracers. Careful protocols and/or new facilities are required to prevent contamination of the AMS samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)524-530
Number of pages7
JournalNuclear Inst. and Methods in Physics Research, B
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Instrumentation
  • Surfaces and Interfaces


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