New mass spectrometry machine brings research closer to patient care

Jan 26, 2017 | News

At a recent gathering in the Clinical Laboratory at St. Paul’s, Dr. Don Sin, head of the Division of Respiratory Medicine and Dr. Mari DeMarco, clinical chemist in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, thanked Genome Canada, Genome BC and St. Paul’s Foundation for supporting the purchase of a new mass spectrometer, which will support life-saving research at St Paul’s and the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation by performing diagnostic tests on biofluids such as blood.

Of particular interest to Dr. Sin’s work are the proteins (known as biomarkers) that circulate in blood, which are studied to help monitor changes in diseases, including Dr. Sin’s chief focus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The mass spectrometer was acquired as part of a larger grant in the amount of $7.2 million awarded to Dr. Sin to support his work in COPD. The application process for this funding was a rigorous, multi-year journey that included, in 2013, a stop in Toronto where Dr. Sin and members of his team presented their research vision to a “very tough” panel of external reviewers.

This panel of medical experts would ultimately recommend Dr. Sin for this major research grant—but at the time, nothing was certain.

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