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Trends Biotechnol. 2011 Mar;29(3):136-43. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2010.12.002. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

MALDI imaging mass spectrometry of human tissue: method challenges and clinical perspectives.

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Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Mass Spectrometry Research Center, Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University, 465 21st Avenue S. MRB III Suite 9160, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.


The molecular complexity of biological tissue and the spatial and temporal variation in the biological processes involved in human disease requires new technologies and new approaches to provide insight into disease processes. Imaging mass spectrometry is an effective tool that provides molecular images of tissues in the molecular discovery process. The analysis of human tissue presents special challenges and limitations because the heterogeneity among human tissues and diseases is much greater than that observed in animal models, and discoveries made in animal tissues might not translate well to their human counterparts. In this article, we briefly review the challenges of imaging human tissue using mass spectrometry and suggest approaches to address these issues.

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