The driving force behind the high and increasing popularity of imaging mass spectrometry is its demonstrated potential for the determination of new diagnostic/prognostic biomarkers and its ability to simultaneously trace the distributions of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites in tissues without the need to develop expensive radioactively-labeled analogues. Both of these applications would benefit from standardized methods, for the development of novel MS-based molecular histology tests and governmental-approved MS-based assays for pharmaceutical development. In addition, the broader scientific community would benefit from the increased accessibility of the technique.
Currently imaging MS studies are individual endeavors, utilizing the individual expertise and infrastructure of a single laboratory and their immediate collaborators. A wide array of tissue preparation, data acquisition and data analysis techniques has been developed but lacks an international collaborative structure and data sharing capabilities. Such a collaborative framework would enable methodological exchange and detailed comparisons of analytical capabilities, to explore synergies between the different methods and result in the development of robust standardized methods. Here we describe the activities of a new European imaging MS network that will explicitly compare and contrast existing methods to provide best practice guidelines for the entire healthcare research community.

This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Imaging Mass Spectrometry: A User’s Guide to a New Technique for Biological and Biomedical Research.

Elsevier B.V.
P. Lunnemann
J. Proteomics

McDonnell, L. A., Heeren, R., Andrén, P. E., Stoeckli, M., & Corthals, G. L. (2012). Going forward : Increasing the accessibility of imaging mass spectrometry. J. Proteomics, 75(16), 5113–5121. doi:10.1016/j.jprot.2012.05.016