San Francisco boosts forensic testing with new SCIEX systems

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  • Published: Jan 30, 2019
  • Source: SCIEX
  • Suppliers: AB SCIEX
  • Channels: HPLC / Base Peak

SCIEX has announced that the San Francisco Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (SFOCME) is transforming the City and County’s forensic testing with the addition of eight cutting-edge SCIEX systems to its analytical capabilities.

The SFOCME has acquired three SCIEX X500R QTOF Systems and five SCIEX QTRAP 6500+ LC-MS/MS Systems to accelerate caseloads and improve accuracy, both of which are essential for routine forensic investigations and the protection of public health.

The SFOCME is under a heavy load, handling the testing for more than 1200 deaths and 1000 driving under-the-influence and drug-facilitated crime cases annually in San Francisco, along with the examination of medical evidence, drug and poison analyses. Though conventional immunoassays are easy to use and convenient to implement in the lab, they are more susceptible to interferences causing false results, and their low sample throughput is a major limiting factor.

By investing in advanced mass spectrometry technology from SCIEX, the SFOCME now has the ability to screen more samples in considerably shorter time. In just one experiment, any forensic compound – even unknowns – can be rapidly detected. This information can be retrospectively retrieved and results from different body fluids in the same subject can be compared, increasing both the accuracy and security of the results.

“Comprehensive and timely forensic analysis will provide San Francisco with essential drug-related information to combat the public health issues currently facing the community, such as the fentanyl epidemic and increases in drug-impaired driving,” explained Luke Rodda, chief forensic toxicologist and forensic laboratory director at the SFOCME.

The use of liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS) has expanded in the field of forensic toxicology. Highly accurate mass spectrometry technologies are paramount to assess and investigate sensitive forensic cases. The SCIEX X500R Series provides ultra-fast forensic screening and generates structural information for every possible analyte in a complex sample matrix. The SCIEX QTRAP 6500+ Systems with the patented IonDrive technology ensure a high performance, even with low sample volumes, and the QTRAP provides the ability to both find and quantify unknowns in the sample, without sacrificing sensitivity.

“With the new LC-MS/MS method, we reduced a backlog by improving dated analyses and operations. Seven legacy GC-MS methods were combined into a single, efficient test that uses just a tenth of the specimen and requires only a third of the sample preparation time,” said Rodda. “Additionally, tapping into software processing automation allows our forensic toxicologists to spend more time ensuring the best quality assurance practices are accompanying reported results.”

“SCIEX is honored to collaborate and partner with SFOCME in successfully delivering a state-of-the-art forensic testing laboratory that will enable the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to provide critical services for forensic use,” said Rob Christian, vice president for SCIEX. “SCIEX is dedicated to working closely with our forensic partners to provide them with the best and most accessible equipment to fulfil their duties.”

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