Feature : Preventing the Onset or Severity of Diseases in Newborns by Measuring Disease Factors in Blood


Shimadzu Corporation

Measures by Shimadzu Corporation

Tandem Mass Spectrometry Method Established from Joint Research with Shimane University Dramatically Shortens Analysis Time

In the business area related to human health, we contribute to life sciences involved in identifying biological phenomena for business fields related to human health, supply pharmaceuticals and diagnostic and treatment devices for supporting medical systems, and help develop functionally-enhanced foods to improve health, and so on. Neonatal mass screening involves taking a tiny quantity of blood and examining it for any hidden congenital metabolic abnormalities, so that the occurrence of disabilities can be prevented. Currently in Japan, all newborns are tested by neonatal mass screening, based on a system of public reimbursement of medical expenses by local governments.
Through joint research with Professor Seiji Yamaguchi of the Shimane University Faculty of Medicine (specially appointed professor as of April 2016), who is Director of the Japanese Society for MassScreening and the leading person to research organic acid metabolism disorders, we have been involved in developing quick and easy neonatal mass screening systems.
For many years, the Guthrie method has been used for neonatal mass screening. It uses paper soaked in the blood sample and was developed in the 1960s and spread throughout the world due to its low screening cost. In contrast, the method we developed uses two mass spectrometers configured in series and is referred to as tandem mass spectrometry method. With an analysis time of only 1 to 2 minutes per sample and analytical peaks appearing clearly on recording paper, each system can examine 60,000 patients per year. Furthermore, it is also able to simultaneously screen for over 20 diseases that cannot be screened with the Guthrie method. Moreover, it offers dramatically higher precision than the Guthrie method and dramatically fewer false positives. Consequently, it helps improve the life quality of patient families.
Currently, we are in the process of expanding the availability of the screening method from developed economies, such as Japan, to newly emerging economies as well, where less than 10 % of all newborns are screened for congenital disorders.



Feedback from a Partner

False Positives Dramatically Decreased
by Introducing Tandem Mass Spectrometry

The tandem mass spectrometry method established by joint research with Shimadzu Corporation significantly improved examination precision compared to the Guthrie method.
Consequently, there was a sharp decrease in cases with false positives and helped relieve the psychological stress on families of children waiting for the results of examination for the suspicious abnormalities. Furthermore, due to its simple method of diagnosing rare diseases, it has caused major changes in the practice of emergency pediatric medicine. In the future, we intend to research methods for saving children with congenital immunodeficiency disorders.


Mr. Seiji Yamaguchi
Specially Appointed Professor
Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Shimane University