The Toxpod

Toxicology in the 21st Century (live at TIAFT2019)

September 18, 2019 Season 2 Episode 7
The Toxpod
Toxicology in the 21st Century (live at TIAFT2019)
Chapters
00:01:18
What have we learnt this week?
00:03:56
TIAFT young scientists
00:06:01
How is toxicology changing?
00:14:27
The opioid crisis and NPS
00:20:57
Abuse of prescription drugs
00:24:55
Do we still need nominal mass instruments?
The Toxpod
Toxicology in the 21st Century (live at TIAFT2019)
Sep 18, 2019 Season 2 Episode 7
Tim Scott & Peter Stockham
Live panel discussion at TIAFT2019 in Birmingham, England
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Peter is joined by toxicologists Sarah Wille (Belgium) and Luke Rodda (USA) to discuss how the field of toxicology is changing and where it will lead us. Recorded live at TIAFT2019 in Birmingham, England.

Learn more about The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists at www.tiaft.org


Contact us at thetoxpod@sa.gov.au


The Toxpod is a production of Forensic Science SA and the South Australian Attorney General's Department. The opinions expressed by the hosts are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of their employer. 



Peter:
0:01
Hello Birmingham and welcome to The Toxpod. My name is Peter Stockham and it's a very special episode today because we are here being recorded at the 57th annual TIAFT meeting here in Birmingham. Firstly, I have to say it's an honor to be here at TIAFT and many thanks to Simon and the organizing committee and also the TIAFT board for their support of the Toxpod project. Now, unfortunately, Tim couldn't make it today, but luckily for us, we've got Sarah Wille and Luke Rodda and they've agreed to come on to have a bit of a chat as our special guests. Please make them welcome. [applause]
Peter:
0:38
So most of you will know Sarah as she's one of the TIAFT Bulletin editors. She works as a forensic toxicologist at NICC in Brussels and she's uh president of the TIAFT young scientists committee. And of course Luke Rodda is formerly of Australia. He's now chief toxicology, chief toxicologist and director of the San Francisco Laboratory, and he's also on the young scientists committee. Now, you both been very busy this week. It started out on Monday organizing the symposium, before that preparing some, a couple of talks that you had to do. So we really appreciate you coming in and being with us.
Luke:
1:15
Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.
Sarah:
1:17
Yep, thanks, yep.
Peter:
1:18
So, um, let's get on to see what's been happening this weekend. What sort of things have we learnt?
Sarah:
1:23
I think there were lots of interesting topics passed by this week, some metabolomics stuff, activity-based assays, um, all kinds of interesting talks about new compounds we have to look, look in our casework. So really interesting work.
Luke:
1:40
Yeah, I think the, uh, the smart and efficient way that, uh, has been, you know, offered as a way to look for these novel psychoactives is a really uh great way to move forward? Um, obviously with, you know, 700 or so plus novel psychoactives out there. Um, it's really challenging just to target every one. And so some having some of these markers and, and ideas is fantastic for laboratories to get started or to be able to continue to monitor these drugs.
Peter:
2:06
And so these meetings are really important for that cause some of these, uh like the MDMB Synthetic cannabinoids, often you can't even see the parents and coming to these meetings here we're always talking about the new ones and that's very important. I don't get to go to many, um, well I'm not devoted enough I guess to come to all TIAFT meetings like some other people are. But, um, every time I come to one, I'm just stunned by the amount of information that's get stuffed into my head and I find it hard to remember all of it. But um, you remember things, you learn things that are just interesting and other things that you actually need for your work. So some examples of things that probably I won't need are the fact that if you see a coconut crab eating a pong pong tree, I'd better not eat it, cause you'll die from cardiac glycosides. But, um, there's just so many things, things like BHB and diabetic ketoacidosis and there's actually a metabolism error that can cause GHB intoxication. I never knew about it before, so that was interesting.
Sarah:
2:59
But I also think it's very important to see, you know, the faces of the people in the field. Not only like you get to read papers, but when you get into contact with everybody, that's actually when projects start and ideas come up. So I think that's really a plus to join a meeting such as TIAFT.
Luke:
3:17
No, I couldn't agree more and I think that, um, you know, the, the treasurer of TIAFT in Robert Kronstrand gave a great mentor talk at the young symposium explaining just that, explaining some of the, uh, collaborations that his team has had with Professor Marilyn Huestis from the US and other people around the world. Um, and I think that's just, uh, such a benefit. Uh, typically when we are talking about these drugs or these certain, um, issues in forensic toxicology that may only be region specific, but then maybe they're not, maybe they're first seen in a region, but then other regions start looking at it or looking into this and then observe the same issues in their own laboratories.
Peter:
3:55
Exactly right. So on Monday we had the young scientists symposium. Do you want to just tell us a little bit about what that's all about?
Sarah:
4:03
Well, uh, the young scientists was actually created to get a kind of platform, uh, for the younger, uh, to not feel too intimidated, especially in the first meeting. So, and just to get to know each other, make a kind of, yeah, I would say network, um, of young scientists to just discuss their projects, what they're doing with their PhD and, um, get to get to know everybody and to also make contact with maybe some older getting young scientists and even the board then during lunch. Um, and especially we always make up a symposium and it's kind of a mixture between like scientific presentations but also presentations that can help them develop their career or like some management stuff or just, yeah. How to, how to create a research group. So all kinds of tools are actually given to the young scientists to develop.
Luke:
4:57
I think anecdotally for myself, at least uh, very nervous, of course, the first, uh, TIAFT. Um, and, uh, even though I had, you know, great mentors in Dimitri and Olaf that, you know, were there, of course in the meetings, but still your first meeting's such a daunting, uh, process, or at least it was for myself. And so we do believe that at least some portion, probably a significant portion of the, uh, first timers of, uh, TF or even their second or third and young scientists. Uh, really, um, it's the start of the meeting, and they get to feel a bit more comfortable immediately at the start of the meeting.
Peter:
5:34
Good icebreaker.
Luke:
5:35
Yeah.
Sarah:
5:35
Yep.
Peter:
5:35
And then of course you have a, try to have a couple of social events during the week and then the ice is well and truly broken by then.
Sarah:
5:42
Yep.
Peter:
5:42
And you had a lot of young scientists, this year I think.
Sarah:
5:46
Uh, I think there were 200, uh, that were registered for the meeting and I believe there were about 100, 150 present at the young scientists symposium.
Peter:
5:55
Yeah, that's a really good turnout. So nearly, almost a third of this, the entire symposium.
Luke:
5:59
Yeah, no, it's fantastic.
Peter:
6:02
So, um, one of the loose themes of this conference is what will toxicology need to detect in the 21st century. So what do you think we should look at and look out for and how has it changed?
Sarah:
6:13
Well, I, I, when I remember well, uh, about 10 years ago, I think the first TIAFT meetings I went to, the focus was largely put on having good validations, uh, thinking about measurement uncertainty, you know, get the adequate number out, uh, in your data and of course this is of major importance. But I think now we're slightly moving on to what does this number actually mean? What can we do with it, how we can get better casework. Uh, all kinds of questions about interpretation, um, are getting out there. And I, I think like you can see it, metabolomics, looking for targets, activity assays, all those things are actually going for a better interpretation, understanding of what that good number actually means.
Peter:
7:00
And so of course the validation is always happening in the background nowadays. Whereas um maybe my first TIAFT back in 2003, it was, uh, there were some presentations that got up and they were told, where's the validation data? We want to see the validation data. But now I think everyone...
Sarah:
7:16
I think the message got through and it's, of course it still remains of utmost importance. But, um, that's something you can also see in this meeting that I think more and more presentations are really about how can I use these data to get, yeah, better insight in older processes.
Luke:
7:35
I think the SWGTOX committee and, uh, the Peters paper, you know, these, um, really pivotal papers for validation and then over the years explaining the importance of this and workshops of validation, um, have really made it just now normal and routine, which is what it should be in our industry.
Peter:
7:53
And so just an example of influence of a young scientist on toxicology. Frank Peters was a young scientist when he won best paper at, in Melbourne in 2003, if I remember rightly, so that paper was hugely influential in toxicology. So yeah.
Luke:
8:08
That's great. And also I think the, uh, one of the things I think in the future that's looking like we're moving towards is also this interpretation as Sarah mentioned, but looking specifically at, you know, postmortem redistribution and maybe having a bit more, uh, answers to that about what these results mean. Looking at certain, you know, markers, um, you know, uh, for specific drugs or, or the, the general postmortem redistribution of a certain case. I think that's really interesting to help us interpret these cases, uh, in death investigation and help our pathologists.
Peter:
8:40
Yep. So postmortem redistribution's still the most uncertain thing about post-mortem tox isn't it? It's really, uh...
Luke:
8:46
I, I think it's always, I mean, one of the things I often say is, is the analytical uncertainty now is reduced so much for post-mortem casework. It's, it's the, you know, the postmortem uncertainty in the case and I think that's something that we always have to consider for postmortem case work.
Peter:
9:03
That's good. Um, so another thing, um, I did notice that years ago there used to be, uh, not even years ago, until recently there was almost an entire stream of the conference would have been, uh, alternative matrices. So there might've been, in those sessions we'd have talked about oral fluid and you talk about hair, there might have been a few nail ones back then, but they're all just accepted as, they're not alternative, they're just another matrix aren't they now? So, yeah. That's one thing that's definitely changed.
Sarah:
9:28
Yeah, I think so too. Yeah.
Luke:
9:29
Yeah. I think that the, you know, the, there was not even a session this year. I think that it's just become accepted that it's an, you know, available tools for us to, to find drugs in these cases.
Peter:
9:38
Yeah. I think I actually recall Simon saying that in his pitch when he, when he was trying to get the, the bid in. Um, so there's a lot of talk about NPS, and we often spend a lot of time on it and you know, it seems pretty sexy and it's good fun to be honest with you. We're living in a golden age for toxicologists. Back in the old days, there was just four or five drugs that we looked for, illicit drugs. And, uh, it's, of course it's got a terrible community toll, please don't...
Luke:
10:03
It's a double edged sword isn't it? I mean it's, it provides a fascinating, uh, work for us and really interesting work, but it's a huge, uh, toll and resource for laboratories and it's a huge challenge for the community to then support, um, us laboratories and, and, and provide those resources.
Peter:
10:20
Yeah. So one thing we've found that there's actually less new NPS is coming out next, less variety, but there's still more volume. Is that what your interpretation is of what's been happening?
Speaker 3:
10:33
I think so. I think we saw, um, you know, the, the, the pivotal paper or poster of course of the, um, each year of the, the, the, the new drugs coming out and uh, we see that decreasing of course. Um, but it's still, it's still there. I think it's still averaging just over one a week. Um, that slide was only shown a couple times during this week. And so...
Peter:
10:54
It used to be every slide.
Luke:
10:54
Used to be every slide. Um, but you know, it's still there and we, you know, I think now that, um, there's lots of countries and lots of regions that need to catch up still, they're still prevalent, I know that it's an issue in the US that, uh, the majority of of laboratories just aren't um necessarily screening for these compounds at all.
Peter:
11:14
They may not even be equipped to manage them.
Luke:
11:16
There's a huge, I mean there's huge issues obviously with just the fentanyl epidemic and you know, laboratories just trying to um, be able to detect fentanyl at the rate of these decedents coming in with overdose. And so sometimes, you know, you need to as a, as a laboratory they need to really, um, manage what's most important just to keep up with the case work.
Sarah:
11:36
Yeah, and I think it also depends from region to region. You already see a big difference like, um, and in Belgium we often see more cocaine and ecstasy, like the classical ones, but still we have to be aware that they're NPSs and, and you have to adapt your analytical strategy in the lab to make sure you can detect them, but you can see like all, like in, in the US it's in more the fentanyls, but uh, depending on which country you are in and which region, um, there seem to be some trends but of course we always have to look out for new things coming on the drug market.
Luke:
12:10
Yeah. I mean, and TIAFT has an NPS committee that will be doing some more work with this again, um, with their partnerships with the UNODC, which is fantastic.
Peter:
12:19
Yeah, that's been quite successful so far. I think. So every, for those who aren't aware, every TIAFT member's got an opportunity to log into the UNODC, uh, what is it?
Luke:
12:28
Portal.
Peter:
12:28
The EWA early warning advisory Portal. To get advice on new substances and contribute too, so...
Sarah:
12:34
Yeah. Yeah. It's going to be very interesting because there, as a lab, there are lots of things to tackle. You need to have, uh, yeah, uh, adequate equipment but also reference standards often, often miss, and just get the knowledge in house to be aware of all those things happening and targets you have to monitor. It's not always easy to keep up.
Peter:
12:55
Speaking of reference standards, what the EPA, no the DEA in America, they've released uh fentanyl kits with hundreds and hundreds of fentanyl analytes just to send uh, not for quantitative purposes but just to assist laboratories, get them into their screen. So I think that's magnificent.
Luke:
13:11
Yeah. It was um, a certain vendor who supplied that and uh, that's, can be, you know, easily researched and obtained if you of course have a DEA license to, to receive those, um, those reference material in your laboratory. But yeah, it was a, it's a great tool to provide laboratories with a qualitative material to be able to, uh, at least, you know, get these, uh, libraries into their own, uh, libraries for their own instruments and start screening, which is fantastic initiative. And I think that our president Marc LeBeau was a big part of helping with that.
Peter:
13:43
Okay. The reason why it's so important is because unlike in a lot of drug seizure world, in the drug seizure laboratories, they use GC/MS and they've got very easy to share libraries, there's the Cayman GC/MS Library, which has got all of their standards that they make, not specifically saying or giving an endorsement to Cayman, but also the SWGDRUG library, all the libraries, uh all the laboratories pool their resources and give uh spectra to this central library, which you can download, but LC/MS, which is what most toxicology labs need to detect these low concentrations just haven't got that sort of resource. So giving them standards is really the only way they can build their own library, so it's solving a very important problem I think.
Luke:
14:25
Yeah. I agree.
Peter:
14:27
So, um, the opioid crisis in the US, I don't know if we want to talk about that too much, what do you think?
Luke:
14:33
Oh, I mean, um, you know, realistically it was only probably slightly touched on really at TIAFT this year, um, considering it's the weight of the problem, um, over in the USA, but I think it's, it is well known. It's well described. Uh, what isn't something that, you know, um, we're trying to describe more is the issue on the west coast. Um, it's predominantly been seen as a huge east coast problem and it certainly has, but in the last year or two, the west coast now is sort of caught up and is following the same line of huge increases in fentanyl overdoses over the last couple of years. And uh, you know, lots of laboratories in the, in California and on the west coast have been somewhat surprised by some of the results that, you know, we've been pushing out at least in San Francisco to demonstrate that. And I don't think it's just a San Francisco issue. I think it's across the board, but I think that there's a lot of issues. Um, when you look at the medical examiner, the coroner system over there, um, how cases are being autopsied if they go to toxicology testing and if they do go to toxicology testing, are they even looking at fentanyl routinely and at the limits of detection required? So there's a multifaceted issue and a, there is a statewide task force um just looking at that in California and trying to realize and demonstrate the problem.
Peter:
15:47
And so it's trying to get a more consistent testing across as many people as they can. Is that the idea?
Luke:
15:52
Yeah, I think it has to be. Um, you know, there's lots of counties in California and so each region has its, its own regime, um, with its own, whether it be coroner, sheriff or medical examiner, it's a very different system, um, county to county.
Peter:
16:07
Yeah. In Australia we have had a quite a significant increase in opioid deaths as of recent, um, media, a bunch of media articles about it. Um, but we haven't got, had anywhere near the, the issues with the fentanyl crisis that you've had in the US but just recently I heard because of these notifications about the looming opioid crisis, they've been advising doctors to cut back on prescriptions of opioids, which might actually have been one of the triggers for the crisis in America anyway. So let's hope they do it in a sensible way and learn some lessons.
Luke:
16:38
Yeah, I mean, um, I definitely came across casework of, um, you know, an individual who has been on, let's say, hydrocodone for 10 years and then is immediately cut off, whether it be by the doctor, but also the insurance company. Uh, and then unfortunately what's their options? Well, the gray market, they try to source maybe, um, prescription medication, but after that, and they often turn to the, um, street illicit market and, uh, it's just Russian Roullette at the moment. They don't know if they're getting heroin, fentanyl, how pure the fentanyl is. It's, we've had a wave of very pure fentanyl come through and, uh, unfortunately these individuals are succumbing to these effects.
Peter:
17:17
Yeah. And there's also been adulteration of, um, other stimulant drugs with fentanyl from reports I've read.
Luke:
17:24
Yeah. We've seen a, a range of cases now, the last two years with methamphetamine, um, been included, fentanyl been included in the methamphetamine and fentanyl included in cocaine. And that's of course, uh, really devastating for, you know, these users who are opioid naive. And then all of a sudden, again, another significant dose of fentanyl. And we've seen waves of, um, these come through. And in fact, uh, we work hard with the local department of Public Health and the community workers on the streets to alert them of these deaths as they come in by the day. And, uh, they've been giving naloxone, um, immediately the next day to these cocaine or methamphetamine users. And we actually see a reduction in deaths almost overnight, which is a fantastic initiative. But um very concerning still that it's happening.
Peter:
18:11
Yeah. So this is, um, moving on to sharing of data, we might want to talk about that now. So this timely communication is, is vital and most places don't really have that infrastructure built there already. It has to be, you have to make an effort to go out and create those relationships. So, um, in a couple of places in Australia where they're trying to increase, improve relationships between clinical physicians, between police officers and forensic labs, and that sort of data sharing is extremely important. But the problem of course, often is that in forensic and legal circumstances, we, we're restricted from sharing data. It's all privacy. So it might take two years for a coronial case to go through. So obviously there has to be some compromise by the coroners and those sort of people to allow us to release results earlier than uh, not necessarily identified results but data.
Sarah:
19:02
And I think it's sometimes also important to like, um, like make people aware of some things. Um, in the sense, as I said already in Belgium, it, they often think only classical drugs are there. But in, for example, in our drugs and driving population, we only will monitor for classical drugs. So we still have to keep aware and keep an eye open. And I think then you have to like make a small study or just have a look in what you can see in your samples and report that back to people that are making legislations or coroners or whatever, just to keep everybody awake of potential changes in, in the, in the markets. Yeah.
Peter:
19:41
So yeah, we only look for, for routine analyses, we only look for three drugs in our drugs and drivers samples. We may take 10,000 a year.
Sarah:
19:48
Yeah, of course.
Peter:
19:49
But it's only three drugs, we're missing so many.
Sarah:
19:50
Yeah. But you can't, of course do like a full tox on 10,000 samples because that's the same that we have. So they want to diminish drug use and driving. So it's very nice that they do it that way. But I think as a toxicologist we have to keep our eyes open and then make other people aware that maybe there are things going on and should and our procedures or uh, yeah, or analysis or legislation should be changed if necessary.
Peter:
20:18
And these sort of projects they take ethics, you have to do ethics proposals and things like that. And I've recently done a little bit of that and it's really not that hard. You just gotta try and, um, answer the right questions and ensure you get everything de identified. And it is often not as hard as, any of you in the audience if you want to start a study up, just go and investigate how you go about it in your local jurisdiction. You could get some really useful information, like Sarah's saying. So, um, we've talked about, uh, sharing of data a little bit, but we also, the DEAs got some emerging threat reports, which we didn't touch on very much, but they're pretty useful as well. So that's another example of sharing datas, data within the community. So we've talked a little bit about NPS, things like that, but going back a little bit, prescriptions really are still the real bread and butter in our laboratories mostly, I would say, prescription medications. And there's been examples of prescriptions gone bad. Like some, like benzos are being heavily abused in the community in Australia, at least. Oxycodone, quetiapine, another, another drug that you wouldn't expect would be subject to abuse, but there's been indications that it is. Of course, pregabalin over the last few years, no-one thought that was going to be worthwhile abusing, but at high enough dose it gives you the right effects. Um, so there's others as well, there's baclofen and gabapentin.
Luke:
21:35
Yeah, I mean Gabapentin's something now, um, you know, we see in probably about a third of all our, um, opioid and other illicit drug deaths. Um, and it's, uh, only been observed, uh, since we included it in our method recently over the last year and a half. Um, so we can actually see that there's actually an issue there. Um, and even though it was described by public health workers on the streets to us saying, hey, are you seeing gabapentin? Well it's only now that we're looking for it and yeah, we've seen it in a lot of our cases. Um, and it's used widely for, for, for these situations.
Peter:
22:10
It's a real nuisance that they are being abused, for selfish reasons of course, cause they, they're amphoteric compounds and for people like us who use liquid liquid extractions they're just a nuisance, but now we have to look for them.
Luke:
22:22
Yeah, I think we're, we're fortunate now with, um, uh, instrumentation that's so sensitive. Um, at least some of the theory that we're utilizing is to have really, um, a nonspecific extraction to try to target basic, neutral, acidic and, you know, these, uh, all compounds you can to run for postmortem casework, for example. Um, where you're really trying to capture all of these drugs. Um, and that's the method that we're able to implement. And actually see gabapentin along with methamphetamine and cocaine and some of these other traditional drugs like opioids.
Peter:
22:55
And that, that's another interesting... oh sorry Sarah.
Sarah:
22:56
Yeah, no, I was also going to comment on that because indeed you get the feeling that you really need a very, um, yeah, screening that you can see all compounds now because we also saw it in talks this week in TIAFT, and I get the same impression in casework that you have more and more poly substance abuse. Um, so you have to know all of the compounds that are present in the sample. Uh, and that's, that's very important.
Peter:
23:25
And that's another thing that's changed is that using these general, uh, one, uh, one method to rule them all, so one method that extracts every drug that's, uh, contrary to what people were talking about 10 years ago where they say, no, you have to do a liquid/liquid extraction or an SPE. Otherwise you're going to get matrix effects. Sounds like people are...
Sarah:
23:44
Yeah, but I, I think you really need the combination of both. On one hand you have to have, uh, a good screening that you can see a lot of compounds, but in some cases, let, let us say drug facilitated sexual assault, you will still need some really, uh, very sensitive methods in which you're sure that your matrix effect won't, won't have an, an impact on the detectability of some compounds. So I think as a, as a lab you will always have to have a combination of, of both.
Luke:
24:13
Yeah. And I mean like DFC, I think for DUID casework, which is very heavily challenged in court, you know, your uncertainty measurements, you know, making sure you've got tight quantitation is uh very important and unless you have a, you know, a deuterated internal for every single compound, you know, that may really challenge some of your drugs if you have significant matrix effects. So I think you need to employ both of these theories.
Sarah:
24:37
And also just something very practical, if you have to run 10,000 samples, um, liquid liquid extraction can be of interest or you need to clean your machine like every single day. So that's maybe something really practical. But it is, it's...
Peter:
24:53
Yeah that's true. So high resolution mass spec is becoming very popular. There's many, many talks here uh, nowadays with high res mass spec. Will we still need triple quads, do you think? I don't think we will.
Luke:
25:08
I definitely, right now I think that the speed of triple quads right now allow you, you know, even a laboratory that doesn't have hi res mass spec to screen for hundreds and hundreds of compounds just by the very pure speed of the electronics, being able to monitor that many ions and transitions. So I think for now definitely, and certainly I think the dynamic linear range, there's lots of things that are uh superior right now for a triple quad. But you're right, once it catches up, um...
Sarah:
25:36
Yeah, I, I agree with Luke actually. I think for the moment, as I already said, sometimes the robustness or, um, also the training skills of everybody in the lab, um, it's sometimes easier to use a triple quad and I, but I also believe that like, you know, high resolution mass spectrometry will be the future. But for now I don't see them replaced uh that quickly.
Luke:
26:04
I agree. I mean we're talking about, um, resource issues for, you know, a huge number of casework and if we have to start now training staff and explaining to the courts what, how, how identification of Hi-Res Mass Spec, you know, is justified in this positive detection of a drug in a casework that's much more difficult than explaining ion ratios and MRMs and retentions.
Peter:
26:26
Do you think so? I don't think it is.
Luke:
26:26
Well, not, maybe not for someone who's, you know, been using a QTOF for over 10 years...
Sarah:
26:31
Maybe you can explain it better than us.
Peter:
26:31
But, but for the average uh toxicologist at the moment and definitely new incomers I think that it's, uh, it's something that over time will become maybe a bit more normal for everybody.
Peter:
26:41
Um, yeah, I was being a bit tongue in cheek there. Obviously the, the QTOFS, uh the triple quad instrumentation is always going to be more sensitive than a QTOF because a QTOF, you're just letting everything in. A triple quad, you're isolating a particular mass, you're optimizing its fragmentation so you get the biggest response. This, um, it'll never be as sensitive as a, as a hi res mass spec. Sorry, the other way around.
Luke:
27:03
I think it's easy for you to say though, because I do remember in 2012, uh visiting your laboratory and you were using a QTOF for many years like it was just normal, but for me it was, kind of blew my mind. So...
Peter:
27:13
It actually is simpler I think, if you just use a full scan mode without the Q, it's simpler, it's just like walking up to a GC/MS and injecting something. You can use the same method for hundreds of drugs.
Luke:
27:23
Sure.
Peter:
27:24
Yeah. That's just our experience. But it took us years to get to that point and I think that's actually not the instrument's fault. I think it's the vendors fault. They should know that we want to make it easy. If they want an instrument to sell, it's gotta be easy to use by the staff and it's got to have reports that don't take you months at home to try and work out how to write.
Luke:
27:41
Yeah. I think one of the most important thing when um, of course choosing instrumentation that sometimes is largely overseen is the usability of the software and the help with reporting mechanisms and making things more efficient and being able to process an assay within a few hours. And it's uh super important for a lab to actually implement this technology.
Sarah:
28:02
But I think this has really already developed a lot in the last couple of years and I think it will go on so, bright future.
Peter:
28:09
Okay. We'll stick with our triple quads for now then. Um, GC/MS. There wasn't much GC/MS was there today. Shall we chuck them out the door?
Luke:
28:20
No, I think there's plenty of people who would still really, really could benefit from GC/MS still. But no, I think that, uh, just like triple quads, I think there's always a place. I think there's still a place, once, until you have an alternative, um...
Sarah:
28:34
For volatiles.
Luke:
28:34
For volatiles, I think that until something replaces both liquid and gas chromatography. Um, there's just too many things that only elute with this gas chromatography.
Peter:
28:44
Of course GC/MS is much simpler. LC/MS has still got so many vagaries about it. We don't understand how half of the ionization process works, there's all these other things, which you happen to ignore on a triple quad by the way. But um, I think we have to keep our GCs. Yeah, it's obviously, it's a much simpler, a more honest technique. Nothing weird can go on in the background.
Luke:
29:03
I would agree.
Sarah:
29:04
Yep.
Luke:
29:04
I think you look at headspace, sorry headspace, GC/FID for example, for volatiles. I mean they're some of the best calibration curves and the tightest results you'll ever see on a, on an instrument and for some of our tests.
Sarah:
29:17
Yeah, I also agree.
Peter:
29:17
Well I can hear people filtering in to start the next session, so we might have to tidy up our session. Thanks very much Luke and Sarah for joining me.
Sarah:
29:27
It's my pleasure.
Peter:
29:27
And thanks very much to the ICC staff for organizing this recording that's, really appreciate that. I know that was, you had to go out of their way to spend some of their lunch time here. Hopefully they pushed the right buttons and this has been recorded. And again, thanks to TIAFT and the Birmingham organizing committee and once again, thank you, especially to Sarah and Luke for stepping in. Thank you very much for listening.
Audience:
29:48
[applause]
What have we learnt this week?
TIAFT young scientists
How is toxicology changing?
The opioid crisis and NPS
Abuse of prescription drugs
Do we still need nominal mass instruments?
×

Listen to this podcast on