Avoiding the unpleasantness of a syringe will soon be possible. Scientists engineered a tiny patch that could take over during medical tests.
Scientists from The Washington University School of Medicine have come up with a small patch coated in small needles. Its purpose? To tap into the interstitial fluid, the liquid filled with proteins that surrounds the blood cells.
By pressing the patch into a person’s finger, and then soaking it into a special particle solution, scientists could determine the presence of certain proteins by analyzing said solution.
But how would that help? Well, turns out that this ISF test is 800 times more sensitive than traditional biomarker tests. It would help medical staff a lot in their search for illness or for monitoring different health factors.
“Blood is a tiny fraction of the fluid in our body,” said Mark Prausnitz, who has done similar research, for Wired. “Other fluids should have something useful — it’s just hard to get those fluids.”
The microneedle patch would not only make medical tests less invasive but also more accessible. These could reach parts of the world where traditional, more expensive medical equipment is hard to get by.