Bioanalytical application of accelerator mass spectrometry for pharmaceutical research

Ken W Turteltaub, John S. Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is a mass spectrometric method for quantifying isotopes. It has had great impact in the geosciences and is now being applied in the biomedical fields. AMS measures radioisotopes such as 14C, 3H, 41Ca, and 36Cl, and others, with attomole sensitivity and high precision. Its use is allowing absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination studies, as well as detailed pharmacokinetics, to be carried out directly in humans with very low chemical or radiological hazard. It is used in combination with standard separation methodologies, such as chromatography, in identification of metabolites and molecular targets for both toxicants and pharmacologic agents. AMS allows the use of very low specific activity chemicals (± 1 mCi/mmol), creating opportunities to use compounds not available in a high specific activity form, such as those that must be biosynthesized, produced in combinatorial libraries, or made through inefficient synthesis. AMS is allowing studies to be carried out with agents having low bioavailability, low systemic distributions, or high toxicity where administered doses must be kept low (±1 μg/kg). It may have uses in tests for idiosyncratic metabolism, drug interaction, or individual susceptibility, among others. The ability to use very low chemical doses, low radiological doses, small samples and conduct multiple dose studies may help move drug candidates into humans faster and safer than before. The uses of AMS are growing and its potential for drug development is only now beginning to be realized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)991-1007
Number of pages17
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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