Shimadzu Corporation (President: Akira Nakamoto, situated in Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan) and Shimane University (President: Hiroki Yamamoto, situated in Matsue City, Shimane, Japan) have signed a joint research agreement for neonatal mass screening using tandem mass spectrometry. (Research period: October 15, 2011 to March 31, 2013.)
In neonatal mass screening, blood sampled from newborn babies is analyzed for the purposes of early disease detection and prevention with respect to disorders of amino acid metabolism and other congenital abnormalities. In Japan, this type of screening has been used for approximately 30 years. In conventional screening, the samples are examined for 6 diseases. Recently, however, tandem mass spectrometry has become the focus of international attention as a new technique capable of detecting totally 28 diseases. In Japan, the importance of this technique has been recognized and pilot studies have been implemented in some regions. On March 31, 2011, a document was distributed to the administrative divisions of Japan by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare regarding tandem mass spectrometry as a new examination method for congenital metabolic disorders. In this document, suitable measures, including proactive investigation, regarding the introduction of neonatal mass screening utilizing tandem mass spectrometry were requested. Currently in Japan, tandem mass spectrometry is used for approximately 20 % of neonatal screening. In the future, this technique is expected to become pervasive nationwide.
In this joint research, an LCMS-8030 Triple Quadruople Liquid Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer, a tandem mass spectrometer developed by Shimadzu Corporation, has been installed in the laboratory of Professor Seiji Yamaguchi, a leader in the field of neonatal mass screening research, at the Shimane University Faculty of Medicine. Approximately 30,000 samples will be analyzed, with the goal of developing new analysis methods and application software to reduce operator workload and to expand the applicability of this method to other dysmetabolic syndrome.
With the LCMS-8030, it is possible to achieve the world's fastest data measurement speeds, and a high degree of reliability in the detection of ultra-trace components in samples, by utilizing the Nexera MP as the front-end LC (liquid chromatograph). With its world-class 130 MPa system pressure resistance, the Nexera MP significantly reduces injection times, ultimately minimizes carryover, and enables continuous multi-sample analysis. As a result, this system is expected to contribute to the construction of a fast and reliable screening examination structure.
In addition, gas chromatograph mass spectrometer software, developed jointly by Professor Yamaguchi and Shimadzu System Development Corp, a member of the Shimadzu Group, enables precise post-screening investigations, making it possible to provide a package for screening utilizing LCMS and precise post-screening investigations utilizing GCMS.
Screening using tandem mass spectrometry has in recent years become a focus of attention in China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and other parts of Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. By responding to these overseas demands, Shimadzu is contributing to an improvement in the quality of neonatal health services.