Integrated syringe combines blood sample collection and nucleic acid preparation functions to speed diagnostic testing for infectious diseases.
Researchers at the University of Central Florida have designed an innovative syringe that can simultaneously draw a patient’s blood and extract/purify nucleic acids from the sample. Thus, a simple blood draw results in a prepared sample ready for nucleic acid detection. In comparison, the conventional blood preparation process can be labor-intensive and time-consuming due to the need for sample preparation. This additional time can contribute to sample degradation or delayed/inaccurate diagnoses. The UCF integrated syringe resolves such issues, offering a faster and more efficient, low-cost method that may help speed the detection of infectious diseases such as Zika, dengue or chikungunya. Early detection and diagnosis of these and many other illnesses are crucial to providing effective treatments.
The UCF invention is a novel syringe designed to draw and prepare a blood sample for nucleic acid detection. The innovative diagnostic tool integrates a cylindrical cam mechanism in the plunger to perform blood tasks that are typically done at a lab (blood lysis, DNA/RNA capture, washing and elution). As blood is drawn from a patient, the vacuum created by the plunger actuates valving that automatically switches between the various preparation tasks. The prepared nucleic acid sample can be analyzed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Alternatively, the prepared sample can be used with a specially designed real‐time PCR device that contains a cartridge with lyophilized real‐time PCR reagents, enabling nucleic acid amplification and disease diagnostics. Because the syringe requires no power or external supplies, it can be adapted for use in low-resource settings. The mass-producible syringe is estimated to cost less than $10.
The research team is looking for partners to develop the technology for commercialization.
Stage of Development
- Low cost and mass-reproducible (approximately less than $10 per syringe)
- Automates labor-intensive sample preparation (collects and processes samples directly from patients)
- Requires no power or external supplies
- Can be adapted to detect various infectious diseases
- Point-of-care testing
- Laboratory/research use