RESEARCHERS from the University of Canberra are developing alternate tests, to replace blood tests, that are more convenient for patients living in rural areas or living with limited mobility.
Associate professor of science Ashraf Ghanem and his team are developing tests for common health conditions that require just a drop of dried blood that can be mailed to a laboratory for testing.
Ghanem says the project aims to create more sensitive, accurate and efficient tests, while also eliminating some of the uncomfortable after effects of sample collection.
The project in partnership with MyHealthTest is developing a broader range of tests for measuring things like vitamin deficiencies and hormones.
“For some people, taking a blood sample in a pathology lab environment might be scary and sometimes the needle can be uncomfortable or painful. Being able to have these tests done in your own home by using a tiny pin-prick to take a drop or two of blood and then mailing in the dried sample, might appeal to many people,” says Ghanem.
MyHealthTest’s Belinda Whittle says the collaborative work with the University of Canberra is helping to produce accurate tests that use tiny amounts of blood to gain an important insight into a person’s health, and together with a doctor they can improve their treatment and overall wellbeing.
Dried blood spot tests are less likely to involve exposure to bio-hazards for laboratory staff and they are safe for those handling the mail.
“The blood is absorbed by the sheet of paper, where it dries,” she said. “Once dried, the sample will remain stable for quite a long time, and because it’s all embedded within the paper, it’s never going to spill or leak so it’s safe to send through the post,” Whittle says.