Blood testing is one of the most tests used on humans these days. Blood samples are used to test the status of all sorts of medical conditions and body functions.
While this is not a big deal if done once in a while, it can still become quite painful and exhausting when blood tests have to be done repeatedly in a short time frame.
One such application of these tests is in monitoring the toxic side effects of antibiotics and other drugs, which require multiple blood draws every day.
To remove the need of this painful testing, researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland have developed a new type of drug testing.
This new format involves the use of Microneedle Technology in order to perform tests without drawing blood at all. Instead, they use a fluid found under the outer layer of the skin for testing.
This fluid is known as interstitial fluid and it is very carefully extracted by microneedles, which are designed specifically to avoid puncturing the epidermis and dermis.
Since the actual skin is never penetrated, it makes testing completely pain free. The sample collected through this system is then processed through micro optical fibers, which are present in the tiny sensor onboard.
The sensors measure color changes, which are caused by drug binding in order to churn out the results. This method has already been tested in laboratory conditions with positive results.
The researchers are now working on making this technology more refined so that one day it could be used for all sorts of blood testing needs.