Drawing blood –without needles
Posted by Xeno on May 14, 2012
Imagine going to the doctor’s office for a blood test — and not having to give blood. No needles. No wincing. No worrying about whether a nurse will find a vein on the first try.Cytometrics Inc., a Center City-based medical device company, can do more than just imagine such a scenario.The 6-year-old company is developing a revolutionary instrument, called the Hemoscan, that obtains common blood-test results using a noninvasive technology invented by a Harvard professor.The Hemoscan works by capturing and analyzing a video image of blood flowing the capillaries.”What we’ve done has never been done before,” said Richard G. Nadeau, Cytometrics chairman and chief executive officer.
“We’ve generated a lot of interest in our system because it gives doctors a chance to observe a person’s microvascular system” without surgery.
“Patients will like [the Hemoscan] because it offers more comfort and there’s no pain,” Nadeau said. “Also, when you get older it gets harder to draw blood.”And health-care workers can avoid the risk of coming into contact with blood, so it’s safer,” he continued. “Doctors will be able to get results immediately instead of waiting for results to come back from a laboratory. The accountants will like it because of the cost savings.
Now when you draw blood, it sets in motion a chain of events with many, many steps. Each step costs money.”Cytometrics hopes to get the Hemoscan, which will require approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, out into the market by next year.The company’s short-term revenue projections: in excess of $500 million per year after five years.It estimates 400,000 customers in the United States alone, mostly hospitals, physician offices, subacute and transitional-care centers and emergency medical transportation providers.Nadeau said the company is currently working on its fourth-generation prototype of the Hemoscan, which consists of:
? a hand-held probe that is place under a patient’s tongue to capture reflected spectral images of blood flowing in capillaries underlying mucous membranes inside the mouth;
? a computerized image-processing unit that analyzes the image and provides almost instantaneous blood-test results, and
? an optional monitor that displays the image captured by the probe.
The whole instrument weighs a few pounds and takes up the same amount of space as a small kitchen appliance.The device is designed for CBC — complete blood count — tests that are used to detect anemia, blood loss, infection, acute and chronic diseases, allergies and other conditions. The CBC test, used by doctors as an initial test to assess a patient’s overall health, captures information on a patient’s red and white blood cell counts, among other data.