Hands up who likes needles? As I suspected, a very poor show of hands... So I expect that the US$3 million research funding by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to US company Tasso Inc. will be most welcome. The company believes that the unpleasant blood sampling pricks can be avoided by using its ping pong ball-sized HemoLink blood sampler, which it plans to submit to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval this year. Reportedly it can be operated by the patient at home, and needs only to be placed against the skin of the arm or abdomen for two minutes to sample your blood. The company, says that its target market will be people who need blood samples to be taken regularly, but not constantly, with the device being so simple to use that patients can take their own blood samples.
"We see our specialty as people who need to test semi-frequently, or infrequently, to monitor cancer or chronic infectious diseases, for example," says Casavant. The money from DARPA will go toward advancing the preservation of the blood. The agency hopes to get to the point where they can stabilize the blood so it can survive for one week at 140° F (60° C). This would remove the need for expensive cold-chain transportation.:
Photo: One stinger removing another; a bull ant carrying a bee back to the ant nest.