SPME as a promising tool in translational medicine and drug discovery: From bench to bedside

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Solid phase microextraction (SPME) is a technology where a small amount of an extracting phase dispersed on a solid support is exposed to the sample for a well-defined period of time. The open-bed geometry and biocompatibility of the materials used for manufacturing of the devices makes it very convenient tool for direct extraction from complex biological matrices. The flexibility of the formats permits tailoring the method according the needs of the particular application. Number of studies concerning monitoring of drugs and their metabolites, analysis of metabolome of volatile as well as non-volatile compounds, determination of ligand-protein binding, permeability and compound toxicity was already reported. All these applications were performed in different matrices including biological fluids and tissues, cell cultures, and in living animals. The low invasiveness of in vivo SPME, ability of using very small sample volumes and analysis of cell cultures permits to address the rule of 3R, which is currently acknowledged ethical standard in R&D labs. In the current review systematic evaluation of the applicability of SPME to studies required to be conduct at different stages of drug discovery and development and translational medicine is presented. The advantages and challenges are discussed based on the examples directly showing given experimental design or on the studies, which could be translated to the models routinely used in drug development process.

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