NMR can do it too

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  • Published: Feb 6, 2015
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: UV/Vis Spectroscopy / Chemometrics & Informatics / Base Peak / MRI Spectroscopy / Atomic / Infrared Spectroscopy / Proteomics / Raman / X-ray Spectrometry / NMR Knowledge Base

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While proteomics and mass spectrometry take a lot of the headlines in disease research, other less glamorous techniques can also contribute, as illustrated by two recent articles showing the versatility of NMR spectroscopy.

In the first report, proton NMR was used to bring to light a marker that appears to be related to the chance of patients surviving glioblastoma multiforme, a particularly virulent and deadly type of brain tumour. The compound is α-aminoadipate, which is present in the normal human brain but accumulates in sufferers of this cancer.

There was an inverse relationship between the levels of α-aminoadipate and patient survival, suggesting that it could be used to predict the likelihood of survival and, possibly, even the time of life remaining.

The second case examined how 2D NMR spectroscopy could be used to analyse human saliva and identify potential biomarkers of oral disease. Mass spectrometry can do this too, but is a destructive technique.

Working with artificial saliva and a slurry prepared from toothpaste and model saliva, the antimicrobial preservative 4-isopropyl-3-methylphenol was identified and measured. The ability to accomplish this in a system that has variable viscosity is not a trivial task and shows that the effects of oral hygiene substances could be investigated directly to produce more effective toothpastes and treatments.

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