remote microsampling: one breakthrough, many applications
by Neoteryx | 3 min read
The wonderful thing about being in the biotech and healthcare industries right now is that we have the ability to leverage untold volumes of data and information. There is a lot of innovation happening in biotech and med-tech — we hear about new breakthroughs every day. One such breakthrough is remote microsampling technology, which makes it possible to collect enormous amounts of data from tiny amounts of biological fluid. Thanks to portable Mitra® devices based on Volumetric Absorptive Microsampling (VAMS™) technology, it is now possible for nearly anyone to collect a tiny sample of biological fluid, such as capillary blood, as a volumetrically accurate specimen.
The applications for this innovation in smarter healthcare are myriad, and only beginning to be properly explored. Here are five of the big ones.
Therapeutic Drug Monitoring. Remote and at-home sampling, facilitated by capillary blood microsampling technology, dramatically simplifies the lives of patients, such as the recipients of organ transplants, who find themselves on strict drug regimens. Before remote sampling, transplant patients had to make frequent trips to the hospital or clinic for blood draws and lab testing as part of therapeutic drug monitoring, or TDM. By self-collecting their own samples and mailing them in, they can eliminate many trips to the hospital or lab.
Patient-centered Care. To practice patient-centered medicine is to make the best of our abundant resources in addressing patients as individuals with specific needs. Once a lab receives a microsample, researchers can analyze the specimen for unique disease biomarkers that provide specific information--helpful for determining which medications or other interventions might work best in clinical practice. Microsampling provides an essential missing link between research and precision medicine, patient monitoring, telemedicine, and telehealth.
Drug Development. Remote specimen microsampling improves every aspect of clinical trials, from recruitment to retention to adherence and compliance. It opens the door for the location-agnostic, virtual clinical trials of tomorrow. Remote sampling decentralizes clinical trials, allowing study participants in distant locations to mail in their specimen samples and follow up with the trial coordinators via telehealth communications. This convenience encourages better program commitment and adherence among participants, saving hassle in the short run and saving money in the long run.
Preclinical Experimental Animal Testing. Using a small lancet to prick the tail of a small study animal to collect a smaller volume of blood for analysis has been a big breakthrough in preclinical research and testing. This is a less invasive approach that is relatively painless and requires only a small-volume sample. These factors reduce stress on the animal, and allow for sampling from the same animal multiple times with minimal harm. Microsampling and rat tail vein blood collection provide a scientific, financial, and ethical advantage in the preclinical lab, reducing reliance on satellite populations, reducing overall rodent use by up to sevenfold, and reducing stress on animals and their human colleagues alike.
Pediatrics. The improved patient experience associated with blood microsampling using Mitra® devices and a finger-stick collection approach, can spare discomfort or trauma and provide a greater sense of agency for any patient. This approach is less anxiety provoking than getting a blood draw from a vein in the arm. The finger-stick approach is an especially significant improvement when it comes to the care of our smallest and most vulnerable patients, our children. That's why microsampling in children's hospitals and other pediatric medical contexts in the United Kingdom and Europe is already catching on. At least one program in the UK sends collection kits out to pediatric patients at home, where their parents can perform the sample collection in familiar surroundings, and mail the samples back to the care team for testing.
And it's not just for blood. The same technology that collects small, volumetrically accurate samples of blood is also proving effective in the collection of other biological fluids, including urine, saliva, tears, and more.
By now, you're already getting some ideas about what VAMS®, Mitra® devices, Neoteryx, and blood microsampling innovation might be able to do for you, in your lab, in your own corner of the world. Let's talk.