March of Progress
Where does clinical bio-molecular mass spectrometry (MS) sit on the steep slope between hype and hope?
André Deelder |
45 years ago, when I was a master’s student, schistosomiasis was detected by immunodiagnosis: a patient’s antibody to the parasite was detected on frozen sections using a second, fluorescently-labeled antibody. Fluorescence rapidly faded and quantitation was based on brightness from – to +++, which was open to personal interpretation. I aimed to develop quantitative assays using “purified” antigens and, after a few years’ work, Bas Ploem and I implemented assays based on schistosome protein antigens coupled to agarose beads – the DASS system. A variation on this theme, this time in collaboration with Han Streefkerk, was our quantitative immunoperoxidase assay, marking the arrival of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). The perceived impact of these assays was not too high; in 1975, at a presentation that I gave on ELISA, a famous malariologist remarked, “Remember young man: her first name was Eliza, but her family name was Doolittle.” So much for the rapid acceptance of novel technologies…
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