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Bruker Daltonics Launches High-Performance Drug and Small Molecule MALDI Imaging Solution for the apex®-ultra FTMS
Product News

Bruker Daltonics Launches High-Performance Drug and Small Molecule MALDI Imaging Solution for the apex®-ultra FTMS

Bruker Daltonics Launches High-Performance Drug and Small Molecule MALDI Imaging Solution for the apex®-ultra FTMS
Product News

Bruker Daltonics Launches High-Performance Drug and Small Molecule MALDI Imaging Solution for the apex®-ultra FTMS


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At Pittcon 2008, Bruker Daltonics announced the newest addition to its molecular imaging portfolio – the high performance apex-ultra® FTMS equipped with Bruker’s proprietary SmartBeam™ laser technology. The high sensitivity SmartBeam™ MALDI ion funnel source coupled with ultra-high mass resolution FTMS make the apex-ultra® ideally suited for tissue imaging of small molecules, including drugs from animals dosed at therapeutic levels, e.g. at 5 mg/kg and lower. This new imaging solution promises to advance areas such as drug development and delivery, clinical and pathology research, as well as other areas of biological research such as lipidomics.

The MALDI source of the apex-ultra® is the Apollo II dual ESI/MALDI source based on the patented ion funnel technology, which provides the combination of high sensitivity with effortless changeover (one mouse-click) between ESI and MALDI. The addition of the SmartBeam™ laser technology, developed initially for the Bruker Flex line of TOF/TOFs, creates a MALDI source that provides the necessary 200 Hz repetition rate laser and less than 40 micron spot size, as well as brilliant spectra quality. SmartBeam™ is also compatible with the full range of matrix choices for MALDI.

The performance of the apex-ultra® in the low-m/z region (150 – 2,000 m/z) is exceptional and does not suffer from complications of matrix background. With mass resolution greater than 900,000 (at 7 Tesla), the cluttered spectra produced in MALDI imaging of tissue samples are readily dissected, allowing for the first time MALDI-MS imaging of small molecules without the requirement to go to tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS or TOF/TOF) for chemical background suppression. This sensitivity and throughput breakthrough is due to the enhanced FTMS peak capacity, and is crucial for small molecule imaging in which crowded spectra with closely spaced peak interferences are the norm rather than the exception. Furthermore, the high mass measurement accuracy combined with Bruker’s SmartFormula™ software automatically provides empirical formulae identification for detected molecules.

Richard Caprioli, Director of the Mass Spectrometry Research Center and Professor of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University, commented: “We are delighted with the progress made through our collaboration with Bruker and we are impressed with the results thus far from our apex-ultra® 9.4 FTMS. This instrument can be used for small molecule imaging and allows us to resolve complex signals present in tissue samples at low molecular weights.”

Another key attribute of the apex-ultra® for small molecule MALDI imaging arises from its unique hybrid geometry: its Qq-interface allows Continuous Accumulation of Selected Ions (CASI™), which can enhance the dynamic range by enhancing low abundant signals produced in MALDI Imaging by an order of magnitude. This is essential for localizing even lower level therapeutic drug levels and drug metabolites in tissues, for example at dosing levels less than 1 mg/kg.

Managing the imaging analysis results is straightforward with flexImaging™, an easy-to-use software solution that guides the researcher through the analytical workflow from data acquisition to data evaluation and image viewing. Finally, the new MALDI-imaging solution for the apex-ultra® is fully compatible with the other Bruker molecular imaging tools for a unique, complete MALDI-imaging solution, including:

  1. ImagPrep™, provides highly reproducible sample preparations for MALDI Imaging in a fully automated, push-button process,
  2. ClassImaging™, uniquely allows the classification of tissue types, such as mamma carcinoma, and determination of the class membership of comparable tissues/biopsies, and
  3. Standard MTP-type MALDI plates that are compatible with the Flex line of TOF instruments, ensuring complementary operation in labs with Bruker TOF and FTMS instruments, and standard glass tissue slides with a conductive surface coating, compatible with both visual microscopy and MALDI molecular imaging.
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