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National Resource for Biomedical Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

Kenneth W. Turtletaub, Ph.D.

Center Overview

Biomedical Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) is a U.S. National User Facility Research Resource, established and funded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is located within the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS) and the Physical and Life Sciences Directorate at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

This national user facility has been established to make Accelerator Mass Spectrometry available to researchers who have a need for accurately measuring very low levels of radioisotopes in their research. It specializes in the biomedical uses of 14C and 3H, and also uses AMS to measure other isotopes, such as 41Ca. The Resource has three major objectives: 1) to provide biological researchers with access to 14C and 3H AMS for use in their research; 2) to develop and refine methods and instrumentation for the use of AMS in biomedical research; and, 3) to encourage and demonstrate new applications for Biological AMS while providing education, thus enabling more biomedical investigators in the research community to utilize AMS quantitation.

Impact on Human Health

There is a need for a precise, quantitative, and cost-effective measurement technology/technique that can assess the effects of drugs and toxicants on humans at concentration levels that are relevant to modern medical treatment regimens. In response to this need, we are developing and applying the quantitative capabilities of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) to enable effective research in fundamental biology and human health. To that end, one of our current core projects is focusing on developing and validating methods and techniques to demonstrate the applicability of AMS to safely and rapidly assess human responses to drugs, xenobiotics and endogenous compounds. We are conducting studies using AMS to develop and validate methods for use in absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination studies (ADME) using drugs alone and in combination. We are investigating how best to conduct basic metabolism studies as well as working with isolated macromolecular fractions such as DNA modified by chemotherapy drugs. Finally, we are working in cell culture, animal models, and humans to assess what types of samples can be utilized and how best to process them for AMS analysis.