Quantification of percutaneous penetration and metabolism of skin care ingredients has seemed daunting; however, new technology provides a ready solution for the problematic arena. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) is a new analytical method that measures a biological response better than the existing technique.
Better can merely mean faster, less labor intensive, more reliable or less expensive. Preferably, better also means measuring something previously unmeasurable due to an advance in sensitivity, selectivity or limit of quantitation. Initial investigations with a new technique are typically academic with individual researchers asking, “Can I measure that?” After appearing in the peerreviewed press, the technique may pique the interest of a few companies that commit limited resources for some preliminary investigations. Then one company beats its competitors to market using data derived from the new technology. Soon everybody needs the new technology and the older method falls by the wayside.
Techniques combining liquid or gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (LC/MS and GC/MS), peptide mass spectrometry, and micro-arrays are examples of techniques that entered the mainstream over the past decade. Accelerator mass spectrometry is poised to join them and revolutionize metabolism studies by making huge leaps in sensitivity over conventional methods.