A new blood sampling device may eliminate the need for needles or pin pricks during blood tests, which is especially useful for those that are afraid of needles or have a phobia of sharp objects.

The new ping-pong ball sized Hemolink blood sampler can be operated by the patient themselves at home, and only needs to be placed against the skin of the arm or abdomen for two minutes to take an adequate specimen.

The US-based company, Tasso Inc., is designing this device with the help of $3 million in funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The Hemolink is a low-cost, disposable device made from only six injection-moulded plastic parts. Inside is a vacuum, which enables a small sample of blood to be drawn from tiny open channels into a small tube through a process known as capillary action. This is made possible by forces that dictate the flow of tiny fluid streams, even against gravity.

Ben Casavant, Tasso Inc.’s vice president and co-founder Ben Casavant says: “At these scales, surface tension dominates over gravity, and that keeps the blood in the channel no matter how you hold the device.”

Simple to Use, Pain Free Blood Samples

hemolink device The Hemolink can draw approximately 0.15 cubic centimetres of blood, which is enough to test for elements such as cholesterol, infections, cancer cells and blood sugar, before being mailed off to a hospital or lab for analysis. The target market will be people who need to take blood samples regularly, but not constantly, with the device being simple enough to use that patients can take their own blood samples.

Casavant added: “We see our speciality as people who need to test semi-frequently, or infrequently, to monitor cancer or chronic infectious diseases, for example.”

The money from DARPA will go toward advancing the preservation of the blood. They hope to get to the point where they can stabilise the blood so it can survive for one week at 60 degrees Celsius. This would eliminate the requirement and expense of transportation in cold storage.

Tasso Inc. plans on applying to the US Food and Drug Administration for its approval at the end of the year, most likely bringing the Hemolink to market in late 2016. If they are successful, the device may eradicate the fear that needle-phobic patients have surrounding blood tests and it could also make healthcare cheaper and more accessible by elimination excessive numbers of visits to the doctor.

Needle Free Sample Collection

At AlphaBiolabs we use the latest state of the art technology to perform our DNA testing and Drug & Alcohol testing services. Therefore, we will be keeping an eye on the developments of the Hemolink device and its suitability for our blood testing services.

In the meantime we already use a device that is suitable for those who are afraid of needles for our blood tests, such as our alcohol blood test. We use a tiny blood sample collection technique that does not require the use of needles or injections. The method involves a simple lancet device is used to prick a finger, the finger is then massaged until sufficient blood is provided to fill a small collection tube and cotton or bandage is applied to the puncture site if there is any continued bleeding. Please visit our Blood Sample Collection page for more information on this process.

If you require a blood alcohol test, a non-invasive blood test for a prenatal DNA test or have any other enquiries please contact our friendly customer service team on 0333 600 1300 or info@alphabiolabs.co.uk

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