Study Volunteers Help Researchers Examine the Impact of Environmental Chemicals on Reproductive Health by Using Mitra® Microsampling Devices from Trajan Scientific and Medical to Collect Blood Samples Remotely
March 2023 — Boston University’s decade-long Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO), which investigates environmental influences on fertility and miscarriage, expanded its protocol this year to offer at-home biospecimen collection to participants across 48 states. The PRESTO research team is conducting a sub-study called the Environmental Pregnancy Study Online (E-PRESTO), using biospecimen analysis to learn if certain chemicals in the environment are harmful to reproductive health.
To encourage participation of couples planning a pregnancy across a wider geographical area, the researchers are offering a mail-based E-PRESTO option, shipping sampling kits to participants’ homes.
Trajan’s Mitra® devices are included in the mailed kits for remote self-collection of blood samples using a quick and easy finger-prick method. The kits also include collection cups to facilitate urine collection at home.
All samples are mailed back to BU for storage and are analyzed at various external laboratories for chemicals, hormones, and nutrients over the next 2 years. After analysis, participants receive a report of their exposure to chemicals and how they can reduce their exposure levels.
“Our early study results revealed that several socio-demographic and lifestyle factors (e.g., advanced age, lower educational attainment, short sleep duration, greater intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, obesity, stress, and depressive symptoms) can hinder conception. In addition, there is growing evidence that certain chemicals in the environment adversely affect fertility and healthy pregnancy, yet there has been less research on the effects of environmental chemicals,” said Lauren Wise, ScD, professor of epidemiology and principal investigator of the School of Public Health-based PRESTO at Boston University.
Dr. Wise added that the investigative team received additional NIH funding to launch the E-PRESTO sub-study to examine potential environmental effects among PRESTO participants. Analytes of interest for E-PRESTO include endocrine disrupting chemicals (e.g., PFAS, PCBs, phthalates, phenols, heavy metals), and vitamin D. The mail-based protocol helps the team reach more volunteers across the U.S.
“Blood sample analysis is a key component of the E-PRESTO study, and remote Mitra devices from Trajan enable us to offer convenient at-home blood sampling to a larger study cohort of couples who live across the United States,” said Dr. Wise.
The E-PRESTO researchers encourage study participants living in the Boston or Detroit areas to participate in traditional venipuncture blood draws in their respective clinics. E-PRESTO participants who live outside those areas will be invited to receive mailed kits containing the remote Mitra devices and other sampling supplies. The Mitra devices in the kits are designed to allow virtually anyone, anywhere to collect a precise blood sample for mailing to a designated lab for analysis. All participants are compensated for providing biospecimens (e.g., $40 for microsampled blood and $20 for urine cups).
If interested in the E-PRESTO substudy, visit the web page: E-PRESTO | PRESTO (English Language Version) (bu.edu). To enroll in PRESTO & E-PRESTO, please click on the study invitation link on the website or contact the BU research team at: email@example.com or 617-358-3424.
About Neoteryx, Microsampling Solutions by Trajan Neoteryx, a world leader in microsampling devices, was acquired by Trajan in 2021. Today, Trajan’s full line of microsampling solutions carry the Neoteryx brand. The Neoteryx range of microsampling products provide precise, quantitative remote specimen collection. They are easy to use and amenable to automated analysis in the lab, easing workflows and enabling decentralized research and healthcare models. The product portfolio includes the Mitra® device based on VAMS® technology and the hemaPEN® that advances both capillary and dried blood spot (DBS) technologies, with more microsampling products in the pipeline. For more information on Trajan’s Neoteryx range of microsampling solutions, visit www.neoteryx.com. For more information about Trajan, visit www.trajanscimed.com.