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Developing sensitive method to quantify estrogens to enhance hormonal screening in clinical research

Shazia Khan, University of Edinburgh



Estrogens play important roles in regulating diverse processes in health and disease. Analysis of estrogens is challenging due to their extremely low levels in plasma and tissue, which further reduce with age and disease. Clinical laboratories often use antibodies to measure estrogens but generate misleading results due to interfering hormones. Thus, more specific techniques have been pursued, the gold standard being “Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)”. There are robust LC-MS/MS assays for estrogens in healthy subjects available but detection is still challenging when levels are low (e.g. preclinical studies). Signals can be boosted by “derivatisation” which introduces a charged unit into the molecule, more readily detectable, and there is great interest in refining this approach.

I am a post-doctoral researcher specialising in MS, working in a Technology Core. My role involves advancing hormone analysis strategies and I have identified a novel reagent (GTMAC) that reacts selectively and efficiently with estrogens and has potential to improve our methods for estrogen analysis (e.g. lower limits of detection and thus smaller volumes of sample for paediatric/preclinical research). My aim is to validate this method and prove it fit-for-purpose, according to International guidelines for estrogen analysis (e.g. reproducibility, stability, detection limits etc.).


Grant awarded: £5,000.00

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