A new self administered device for collecting the blood samples would replace the painful needles.
People sometimes avoid going for regular blood checkup as they fear the painful needles which sometimes can give intense pain if the person collecting the blood is new and is not able to get through the correct vein. Sometimes, after a lots of puncture the intern finally is able to get the blood and this experience really holds people from going for their future routine blood checkups.
Just imagine if we collect the blood samples on our own and that too without any needles!! wonderful isn’t it? The good news is here, a DARPA ( Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ) funded company, Tasso Inc. which is affiliated with the University of Wisconsin -Madison, has received $ 3 million federal grant to develop a “ping-pong ball sized disposable device” which can be self administered by the users to collect their blood samples in just a matter of few minutes.
How can a device collect blood without puncturing the veins? The theory used behind this technology is very simple, here when user holds the device against their skin it creates a superficial vacuum and then immediately the device starts to pull the blood from innumerable microscopic open channels called as “capillaries.” The capillaries work on the same principle of “capillary action” that we learnt in Physics during school days, the capillary action would cause liquid to flow in the narrow spaces against the gravity and without any external assistance.
So in this case there will be no needles to puncture the veins and the blood is collected through the capillary action into the collection container attached to the device. The current blood drawing capacity of the device is about 0.15 cubic centimeters of blood which is sufficient to carry out most of the routine pathological analysis which includes the infection detection, Lipid profile tests for cholesterol, cancer cells and blood sugar tests.
The current blood collection unit needs to send the blood to laboratories for analysis immediately as soon as it has been extracted or it needs to be kept in ice. However, the new device can preserve the blood sample for up to a week at 140 degrees Fahrenheit which will reduce the hassle of sending the blood samples to the lab at low temperatures hence the blood samples can be either mailed or hand delivered to laboratories for further analysis. The DARPA grant will be funding the research which will design the preservatives for stabilizing the blood samples. With the preservatives users can store the extracted blood for more than 10 days and also accommodate more samples without the blood sample getting spoiled.
In a recent press release, Ben Casavant, Vice President and co-founder of Tasso Inc. said: “We see our specialty as people who need to test semi-frequently, or infrequently, to monitor cancer or chronic infectious diseases. Instead of buying a machine or expensive equipment, we ship you this device, you put it on your arm for two minutes and send it back to the lab.”
The product is still under developmental stages and is expected to hit the market somewhere in early 2016. So people will have to wait for only a few more months before they can buy this “self administered device” with which they will be able draw their own blood samples thus avoiding the painful needles and get their blood analysis done on a regular basis.