Biomarker samples could be obtained via microneedles

In another microneedle breakthrough, scientists believe they have found a way to take blood samples and check for biomarkers without a traditional blood test, much to the relief of needle-fearers everywhere. Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia have created a micropatch with densely configured, one millimeter long microneedles. The needles are able to gather samples of the body's protein antibodies.

Not only does the procedure mean less pain for patients, it also means fewer tests. In the University of Queensland study, the researchers used the patches to test mice for anti-flu antibodies after they had been vaccinated with a traditional vaccine. The silicon-needle patch is placed on the skin using a stamp-like device. Now that this study has been successful, the researchers are looking at other antibodies and biomarkers they can find via this test. The study will be published in the 2010 edition of the Lab Chip journal.

- here's the study abstract
- read the RSC writeup