Current perspectives of 14C-isotope measurement in biomedical accelerator mass spectrometry

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2004 Jan;378(2):356-64. doi: 10.1007/s00216-003-2348-5. Epub 2003 Nov 18.


Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is an extremely sensitive nuclear physics technique developed in the mid-70's for radiocarbon dating of historical artefacts. The technique centres round the use of a tandem Van de Graaff accelerator to generate the potential energy to permit separation of elemental isotopes at the single atom level. AMS was first used in the early 90's for the analysis of biological samples containing enriched 14C for toxicology and cancer research. Since that time biomedical AMS has been used in the study of (1) metabolism of xenobiotics in animals and humans (2) pathways of drug metabolism (3) biomarkers (4) metabolism of endogenous molecules including vitamins (5) DNA and protein binding studies and (6) clinical diagnosis. A new drug development concept which relies on the ultrasensitivity of AMS known as human microdosing (Phase 0) is being used to obtain early human metabolism information of candidate drugs arising out of discovery. These various aspects of AMS are reviewed in this article and a perspective on future applications of AMS provided.