Mass spectrometry imaging for clinical research – latest developments, applications, and current limitations
Mass spectrometry is being used in many clinical research areas ranging from toxicology to personalized medicine. Of all the mass spectrometry techniques, mass spectrometry imaging (MSI), in particular, has continuously grown towards clinical acceptance. Significant technological and methodological improvements have contributed to enhance the performance of MSI recently, pushing the limits of throughput, spatial resolution, and sensitivity. This has stimulated the spread of MSI usage across various biomedical research areas such as oncology, neurological disorders, cardiology, and rheumatology, just to name a few. After highlighting the latest major developments and applications touching all aspects of translational research (i.e. from early pre-clinical to clinical research), we will discuss the present challenges in translational research performed with MSI: data management and analysis, molecular coverage and identification capabilities, and finally, reproducibility across multiple research centers, which is the largest remaining obstacle in moving MSI towards clinical routine.