The Community of Analytical Science (CAMS), is an industry led network across the UK and Ireland, whose purpose is aimed at promoting world-class analytical measurement science training, research and innovation by bringing together a network of industrial and academic partners with interests in these fields across the UK and Ireland. We are funded by the Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund (ACTF), our industry memberships, academia programme co-funding, (former) BEIS and supported by the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP). As an industry led-network, CAMS works to address specific industry challenges in four priority areas: 1)Point of use sensors and photonics; 2) Complex mixtures, separations and detection; 3) Data analytics; 4) Novel instrumentation or techniques. In our first three years of membership, we co-funded 41 programmes - including 14 academic co-funded positions in UK and Irish Universities, 8 of which are permanent (2 new chairs and 6 new lecturers in analytical science). The remaining funding has been directed towards postdoctoral fellowships and industry:academia PhDs. In our time as a network however, we have been less successful with engaging academic institutions to appoint separation scientists or commission separation science projects, and our industry members continue to report challenges with finding suitably qualified and / or experienced separation scientists. For this reason, CAMS is now co-ordinating a white paper for use with UK and Irish policy makers and funders and has catalysed the project by bringing together the leading Separation Science expert community groups - the Royal Society of Chemistry Separation Science Group (Chair John Langley) and The Chromatographic Society (Chair Tony Edge) to lead the charge on starting a conversation about the state of the Nation for Separation Science. The project began with a one day meeting in London on June 22nd - with many community experts in the UK and from the Netherlands and Belgium, and industry/instrument company representation. This presentation will summarise the one day meeting output and invite further input from the SinS community on this topic - please come along and have your say - is Separation Science on Life Support?
The Citizen Analytical and Measurement Scientist
Principal Scientist for Measurement Science, Chemical Development, Pharmaceutical Technology and Development, Operations, AstraZeneca, Macclesfield, UK
Chair CAMS Industry Advisory Board
Without perhaps realising it, from 2021, billions of people became citizen analytical and measurement scientists. Rapid antigen self-testing technologies, as used in COVID-19 self-test kits, placed medical diagnostic tools in the hands of public at level never seen previously – with huge societal value. Though estimates vary, they suggest over 4.7 billion COVID-19 tests have been carried out as of December 2022. There has been some debate in the scientific literature of the impact of such mass testing on the control of the pandemic. (Nature, Volume 590, page 202-205, 2021). However, an important conclusion was that greater clarity of communication of the benefits of testing was needed. I shall return to communication later.
Home testing technologies aren’t new in themselves – the home pregnancy lateral flow test (which detects levels of hCG) as an example, has been around for some years. However, the range of analytical and measurement science technologies available to the individual has increased and expanded over the last few years, with many in the area of disease management or well-being. This has been driven by innovations in device miniaturisation and wearable technologies, such as:
- wearable glucose monitors, employed by diabetes patients to monitor and control their disease;
- non-invasive haemoglobin monitors that, combined with smart phones, allow the individual to measure blood oxygen saturation during sports or exercise (a measurement traditionally made in a hospital setting);
- hand-held breathalysers for law enforcement, based on several mechanisms, including electrochemistry;
- airport drugs and explosive detection employing ion mobility spectrometry.
Looking to the future, the availability of these types of technology more broadly across society will only increase. Measurement devices that accompany a specific medicine to monitor efficacy and compliance will become more prevalent. Simple point-of-care technologies for disease diagnosis will have huge impact, as they can accelerate the patient to treatment (Digital Biomarkers, 3, 31-71, 2019).
Other areas for simple and portable technologies include environmental monitoring and drug testing. These may be based not only on sensor technologies, but on technologies traditionally laboratory based such as separation science and mass spectrometry in a miniaturised or portable format. These possibilities have been exemplified by both hand-held Raman Spectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry, with applications such as raw material characterisation, counterfeit medicine identification, narcotics, explosives, hazardous chemicals, food safety, elemental analysis – all giving answers within seconds. After all, if analytical technologies can be miniaturised for space exploration, anything is possible.
Meanwhile, back in the lab…
Advanced laboratory-based analytical science technologies remain essential for delivering the fundamental research to produce diagnostics or miniaturised technologies. For example: the research to identify a specific disease marker and translating this to a simple test. CAMS and UK analytical and measurement science more broadly will drive these innovations – from discovery of technologies, development of robust methods and underpinning science – to translation to simple devices with easy-to-interpret results. The CAMS themes of Point of Use Sensors and Photonics, Complex Mixtures, Separations and Detection, Data Analytics and Novel Instrumentation or Techniques, all strive to meet this objective.
Spreading the word
The analytical and measurement science community should be both excited and proud of the work in this field, which has an unquestionable societal benefit on a global scale. This does set us a challenge: we must continue to tell this story to the public, the media and those who fund our research so that the value is understood and to challenge misconceptions
Therefore, I call upon all of you to communicate our innovations, research impact and value to the individual as widely as possible. After all, uncertainty in the impact of a measurement result can lead to confusion and also distrust of science.
Watch this space for a future blog on effective science communications!
ChromSolutions Ltd was formed in 2004 and has a wealth of experience in Gas and Liquid Chromatography, Mass spectrometry and sample preparation techniques. We have three offices in the UK and in 2019 we celebrated 15 year in business and were awarded Tier 3 membership to the Community of Analytical Measurement (CAMS) through our contributions to Building Effective Analytical Measurement (BEAM). These and other quick reference guidance documents are also available here http://www.chromsolutions.co.uk/scripts/search_data.pl
With over 120 years of collective experience ChromSolutions offer an independent source of advice and consultancy for modern analytical instrumentation and measurement, sales, service, and support on a global basis. We re-launched our website in 2020, featuring our latest remote service offerings called ChromTelemetry™. We offer advice on instrument and software purchasing, training, method/development, and troubleshooting. Our current focus is on Agilent, CTC and Varian GC & GC/MS equipment and software. We have added 3D printing to our portfolio. This includes prototyping and product development using CAD, (Computer Aided Design) coupled to 3D printing. We also offer training and support for customers who wish to get stated in 3D printing to improve their existing skills.
Our Objectives and Values:
• Providing trusting and working relationships, both inside and outside the organisation
• Helping analysts get the best from their analytical measurement is our passion
• Enhance the quality of knowledge and technical skill within the client’s organisation
• Deliver cost effective products and services to our global clients
• Providing knowledge when you need it
ChromSolutions Products and Services:
• Sales and marketing support: We can provide detailed market knowledge and access to customers in the UK marketplace
• Providing trusting and working relationships, both inside and outside the organisation.
• 3D printing support: 3D Printing - Prototyping for one-off designs/products through to large scale production
• Analytical support:
- Instrument purchasing – Selecting the correct configuration and software for your
- Instrument networking - Setup and security
- Sample preparation - Offline and all online instrument sample preparation
- Method development and optimisation
- Troubleshooting - Instrument/application/software issues
• Bespoke consumables.
- 3D printed sample trays
- 3D printed custom gas sampling device
- 3D printed flow indicator
- 3D printed gas tags
- 3D printed OEM obsolete parts
• Training support:
- Chromatography/MS related
- 3D printing related
- SPE related
All the training and support activities above can be provided, remotely or on-site.
Our Collaborations and Partnerships:
We partner and collaborate with several companies that complement our branding model. This ranges from single ownership to larger commercial organisations such as Restek and Agilent. A full list can be found here: https://www.chromsolutions.co.uk/partnerships.html
Our Customers and Target Markets:
Our target audience would be smaller independent businesses operating in any of these market sectors:
• Chemical & Petrochemical
• Food & Beverage
• Fragrance Forensic
• Life Science
A fuller list of companies we have helped is available on our website: https://www.chromsolutions.co.uk/customers.html
For further information please visit our website: http://www.chromsolutions.co.uk/index.html
Contact us: http://www.chromsolutions.co.uk/contactus.html
Register for updates: http://www.chromsolutions.co.uk/register.html
In a series of blog posts, we will be introducing CAMS’ industry members, to find out more about their work and how they support CAMS.
By Alana Thompson, Marketing Manager, Anthias Consulting Ltd
Anthias Consulting Ltd – we have been an industry member of CAMS since its inception. We’re a small team of analytical scientists and support staff with our office based in South Cambridgeshire. We provide training in analytical science techniques and consultancy support offering independent advice for troubleshooting problems, helping develop and optimise methods, and guidance to improve sensitivity and efficiency. We support professionals in a range of roles including analysts, researchers, technicians and technologists, in both academia and industry.
We are a part of the training arm of CAMS, BEAM, and you will find our scheduled training courses listed on the events pages of the CAMS website. We are proud to be a member of BEAM supporting the continuous improvement of knowledge and skills and helping individuals progress their professional development throughout their career journey. We feel that we bring a unique perspective to understanding the skills and development needs of the community, from over 17 years delivering training and consultancy support to professionals in industry and academia, on a hugely diverse range of applications. This gives us insight and experience in a vast range of analytical systems, applications and methods, which we aim to share through our training. Attendees of our courses are often surprised by the variety of roles, industries and research areas of their fellow trainees, it makes for a rich learning environment where we can all learn from each other’s experiences and, underlines the broad scope of these analytical techniques.
Our aim is to “bridge the gap” between manufacturers of scientific instruments and the end users. We run public scheduled courses throughout the year and travel the world to train analysts on their own systems. Our ultimate aim is to help laboratories get the most out of the instrumentation they have. This can be through looking at the optimum set-up, most appropriate consumables and examining each parameter; to ensure all of these aspects match the end goal of the analysis. When we’re called upon to fix a problem, we usually combine an element of training so that the team can benefit from learning more about maintaining and troubleshooting their instrument and method, and how to approach problems in the future.
Our training programmes range from courses which are universal and can be applied to any instrument and on these we teach how to use a particular technique and optimise the parameters, maintain parts and common areas for troubleshooting. Our manufacturer-specific courses focus on a particular instrument and cover how to operate, maintain and troubleshoot that model of hardware and software. With all our courses, we teach the underlying chemistry of the technique and how to focus on the end goal of the analysis to guide each step of method development.
We have seen a huge demand for practical-based training in the past year, with members of the analytical community looking for hands-on experience in the laboratory. With our partner venues we’re able to offer a training facility with live instruments so that attendees can have a go themselves, under the guidance of an expert. They can then return to their own labs with the knowledge and confidence to implement what they have learnt.
When not teaching, our trainers are practicing analytical chemists and can be found in the lab installing and maintaining instruments, developing methods and analysing samples while applying their skills on a wide range of multi-disciplinary projects including food, drug and space applications.
CAMS members benefit from a 15% discount on all Anthias scheduled courses in 2023 – see the full list at https://www.anthias.co.uk/training/training-course-list
Please do reach out to us for any training needs you have, we would welcome the opportunity to connect with you and see where we might be able to help.
It is a real honour to be appointed Chair of the CAMS Industry Advisory Board, following on from Mark Seymour. I’d like to thank Mark for all his work for CAMS and wish him a very happy retirement.
Analytical scientists in the pharmaceutical industry are being constantly challenged to work with an ever-increasing diversity of chemical and biological entities. The ongoing efforts to beat COVID-19 exemplify this, as collaborations across academia, industry and technology providers race to develop vaccines, innovative treatments and testing methodologies. And, in all these areas, analytical and measurement science will make a massive contribution.
Another hot topic that reinforces the essential role of analytical science in the pharmaceutical industry is nitrosamine trace analysis. Over the last two years the nitrosamine challenge has exponentially expanded and is one of the major issues facing the global industry. It has resulted in product recalls, has the potential to restrict the availability of some medicines and has become high profile within the media.
From the initial focus on trace nitrosamine levels in Sartans drug substance, the scope has greatly expanded. It now encompasses all synthetic and biologic drug substance, the evaluation of levels in drug product and nitrate and nitrite levels in associated excipients. More recently, the risk of nitrosamine formation in packaging processes has also come under scrutiny. As the scope has expanded, the trace analysis challenge has grown. LOQs and LODs were typically set at 15 ppb and 5 ppb respectively. However, recent regulatory challenge may drive these down further to LOQs in the region of 5 ppb and LODs at sub 1 ppb level.
Issues of method robustness, sample preparation, unexpected sources of nitrosamine contamination and associated risk of false positives have contributed to the challenge. The implications of false positives are enormous, having the potential to severely impact supply of essential medicines. Therefore, we need a high confidence in the data generated for nitrosamine to maintain public trust, as illustrated by a recent high-profile example.
The global analytical science community within the pharmaceutical industry has responded with significant investment in state-of-the-art analytical technology and collaborations with instrument and column manufacturers to advance the capability of that technology. In parallel, the demand for testing at analytical science contract research organisations (CROs) has greatly increased. It has also been essential to influence the external regulatory landscape and develop cross pharmaceutical industry collaborations.
All elements of analytical science are required to achieve the challenging LODs and LOQs. High resolution LC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS, along with IC-MS, is being applied for quantitation and structural confirmation. Bespoke sample preparation methods are required due to the variety of drug substance and drug product sample matrices. New separation science methods and column technology are being evaluated.
Nitrosamine trace analysis again illustrates how essential it is that we develop the current and next generation of analytical scientists and innovate in many areas of technology. The importance of the skills of analytical scientists from a societal perspective is clear. Now every day is nitrosamine day and it is inspiring that analytical science is leading the charge to tackle the issue and will demonstrate the safety of medicines, for many diseases, required by the millions of patients around the world.
Tony Bristow - CAMS Industry Advisory Board Chair Chemical Development, Pharmaceutical Technology and Development, AstraZeneca, Macclesfield, UK
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us over the past few weeks and has forced us to change the way we live and work. But in adversity lies opportunity. Many measurement scientists will have been directly applying their skills as part of the efforts to defeat the disease and CAMS provides an excellent forum for us to share our expertise and form new collaborative alliances. Most of us have also found ourselves spending a lot more time working from home and this seems to have generated a huge increase in demand for online learning resources such as webinars, training videos and interactive educational resources. Again, CAMS has been able to play its part by offering online materials through BEAM. That said, BEAM is still at an early stage of development and further contributions of high-quality training materials would be very welcome, please don’t hesitate to contact the CAMS Secretariat if you have something in mind.
Of course, the pandemic will not last forever and normality will return at some point. We will be staging our first CAMS conference in September and we are still hopeful that it will be a face-to-face event rather than virtual. CAMS members are involved in world-class research both in academia and in industry and I would urge all member organizations to consider presenting some of their work at the event.
Talking of research, now that CAMS exists as a legal entity (CAMS Ltd.) and we have someone to pay our subs to, there should be no obstacle to initiating collaborative research projects between industrial and academic partners. Several ideas have already been mooted and now is the time to dust them off and make at least some of them happen!
Lastly, I will be retiring in September and so will stand down from the Industry Advisory Board at that time. I have enjoyed my brief spell in the chair and I am pleased (as well as relieved) that we finally managed to get the CAMS membership agreement over the finishing line. I wish CAMS and its members every success in the future. I chose analytical science as my own career and found it immensely rewarding. I’d like to think that CAMS will play a prominent part in fostering many more analytical science careers in the future.
Well, what a difference a few weeks make! I hope this finds you and yours well and coping with our flexible working revolution in parallel with home schooling, social distancing, excessive gardening and interesting hairstyles!
More than ever, the importance of community is central in everyone’s minds and this is increasingly true for the measurement sector globally. In recent weeks we have heard senior government officials comment on how testing is going to be important for a long time ahead and how the testing/measurement sector are increasingly recognised as an 'important industry'. As measurement scientists, this is of course music to our ears…it’s just a shame it took something like this to hear these comments.
So – what has CAMS been doing on the COVID-19 front? In the first few lockdown days, CAMS Executive and Industry Board members convened to discuss how we might support testing efforts – and importantly find innovations to help with future (next generation) diagnostics and understanding through measurement of COVID-19. Our discussions focused on the emerging proposals in the Mass Spectrometry community arena and we re happy to announce our interest in developments proposed by the COVID-19 Mass Spectometry coalition. We would urge any MS experts not already supporting this to look at the link to find out more. I would also encourgae you to look at the BIA's COVID-19 taskforce page. On 7 May we streamed a webinar where a number of CAMS members explained what measurement innovations are going on around our community. You can watch a recording here. A second webinar will take place on 15 June, so please get in touch with the CAMS Secretariat if you would like to take part in that event.
Elsewhere, our Industry Board met at the end of April to discuss new industry proposals which are now ready for the Academic Board to review and put forward project ideas, questions and challenges. We hope this process will be as open and interactive as possible with our academic members so we can start some truly innovative PhD and postdoctoral projects from September onwards (we hope), thereby supporting the skills and development of the next generation of measurement scientists. Also looking ahead to September – if you haven’t already seen the announcement – we are continuing to plan our first CAMS annual conference. We hope it will be face-to-face in London (with appropriate social distancing) but we are also planning for a virtual event, so look out for more information soon.
Finally, I’m pleased to say that the CAMS legal entity and bank accounts were finalised in recent weeks and members have been ‘formalising’ their membership by paying in! It’s great to have passed this milestone and we look forward to continuing to welcome new members in. If you have any ideas for how we could expand and improve our offerings, we look forward to hearing from you.
With the CAMS Ltd entity established in a flurry of end of year activity, it has been business as usual this month - continuing to assign the initial stakeholder contributions to build on the 3 lectureships, 10 fellowships and 3 post-doctoral positions being added through CAMS to the wider analytical family around the UK. Focus is shifting also towards the longer term sustainability for the analytical family with new members already lined up and eager to join the initiative.
Current UKRI initiatives may offer the first opportunity for the analytical family to come together to explore deeper collaborations between existing, and with new, industry and academic partners; to embed and develop upon the first e-learning training materials available in June this year; and to support the wider framework activities.
Wider discussions around the role for CAMS within predictive analytics and standards in support of key sectoral digital manufacturing initiatives being proposed is gaining traction and political visibility. Planning for the first CAMS Annual Conference in London in Sept 2020, to celebrate its tec
hnical and skills development achievements, is also underway. Here’s looking to 2020 offering CAMS much more than just good vision!
More next month.
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