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the microsampling blog

smarter immunosuppressant monitoring: the promise of capillary blood microsampling innovation


For many organ transplant patients, immunosuppressant monitoring is a fact of life. They must take immunosuppressive drugs to ensure that their body doesn't reject the transplanted organ. However, therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) can be significantly improved by enabling a remote, home-based approach. The remote blood sampling capabilities provided by Mitra® microsampling devices based on VAMS technology employ a volumetric absorptive microsampling approach that simplifies blood sampling. 

With a handheld Mitra device that can be shipped to a patient at home in a Mitra Sample Collection Kit, nearly anyone, anywhere can easily collect finger-stick blood samples as part of a toxicology study or TDM program.

Therapeutic Drug Monitoring for Transplant Recipients

Immunosuppressant regimens for patients who have received kidney transplants or other organ transplants require precise levels of drugs to be present in the bloodstream at all times. To ensure the treatment is working, these levels must be strictly monitored, requiring blood sampling at frequent and regular intervals.

Under old ways of blood collection, the inconvenience posed by therapeutic drug monitoring for organ transplant recipients is obvious. Patients must travel to clinics, sometimes at great distances, spending time away from home and family. This can impose constraints on lifestyle, along with a more general sense of frustration.

The Promise of Remote Sampling

New blood microsampling technology allows organ transplant recipients to collect samples anywhere, at any time, with minimal training - an innovation known as remote blood collection. From the perspective of patient experience, this makes immunosuppressant monitoring a lot more manageable.

Organ transplant recipients, at home - or wherever they want to be - can self-sample and ship. They can also claim greater agency and participation in their own treatment, making them feel more invested in its success.

The Science is Solid

But does blood microsampling produce samples that generate the same high-quality data associated with the gold standard of venous blood? Until recently, the answer was ambiguous.

Older dried blood collection methods, such as DBS cards, produced imprecise volumes of dried blood, leading to the hematocrit bias compromising data. Plus, they were cumbersome and unpleasant for patients, not much of an improvement over painful venipuncture with needles.

VAMS® technology is different. Samples are volumetrically accurate. Self-sampling is considerably easier. And scientific results from third-party researchers prove that, with the right procedures in place, samples collected through microsampling generates results that correlate with those from plasma and venous blood.

Blood Microsampling in Tacrolimus Monitoring

There are still ample opportunities for researchers studying immunosuppressant monitoring for organ transplant patients to get involved with microsampling.

Success with tacrolimus monitoring has been remarkably promising. Scientists in the United Kingdom and Norway have shared their results, with more on the way.

This creates a model for how dried blood microsampling may expand to be applied to other immunosuppressant drugs and other analytes.

And what does that mean for patients?


New Possibilities for Organ Transplant Patients

Already, VAMS has enabled transplant patients to undertake a trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro, monitoring their immunosuppressant levels as they climbed. It has helped a pediatric kidney transplant patients stay closer to their families and communities.

And this is only the beginning. Like remote sampling itself, the biggest breakthroughs in using microsampling to monitor immunosuppressant drugs in transplant patients to ensure efficacy and reduce toxicity could happen anywhere. It could happen in a toxicology lab, clinical lab or your lab.

If you work with immunosuppressants, you need to understand how remote microsampling can benefit your patients or study cohorts. Contact us today, and one of our Microsampling Specialists will help you understand how to leverage the possibilities of this remarkable blood collection device.

More information about remote microsampling for TDM can be found via our Microsampling for Drug Monitoring page.

Smarter, simpler sampling is the solution for better immunosuppressant monitoring. Start the conversation today!

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In some territories our devices are supplied for therapeutic or IVD use Outside of those territories our devices are supplied for research use only

Image Credits: Trajan, Neoteryx, iStock, Shutterstock

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