Ultrasonic-Enabled Blood Collection System

Period of Performance: 07/01/2016 - 12/31/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Covaris, Inc.
WOBURN, MA 01801
Principal Investigator


Summary Sequencing of human DNA has become relatively inexpensive in recent years. The DNA sequence?the order in which the chemical constituents of the DNA are attached to one another in the DNA molecule?holds important information about susceptibility to disease as well as possible usefulness of various therapiesfor diseases. Also, modifications to DNA such as methylation, where a chemical group is added to the DNA,impact health, because they can suppress or promote the way genes are used to create proteins. Forsequencing an entire genome of an individual or understanding the methylation of the sequence, a significantamount of DNA that is chemically intact is required. A good way to get this DNA is by extracting it from thewhite blood cells of whole blood. But whole blood is difficult to collect and store for later analysis. Other fluidssuch as saliva or cheek cells obtained using a swab have variable amounts of DNA that also might be broken. For several years blood spots have been dried on filter paper. This allows storage of the DNA until itneeds to be used. But the application of blood to spots can be variable, especially if people do it on their own,at home. And the extraction of DNA using current methods is not that efficient, so that getting enough DNA foranalysis is a problem. This project aims to create a system for easy collection and storage of blood with high yields of goodquality DNA. We will do this in two steps: First, blood will be collected into a special device designed for easyapplication of the blood and which can dry the blood rapidly in a closed container. The container can behandled immediately and shipped, even before drying is complete. In the second step the part of the devicecontaining the dry blood will be subject to focused ultrasound. This has been proven to extract largerquantities of DNA from devices such as blood spot paper than the usual chemical methods employed bydoctors and researchers. This system thus improves three steps in the blood analysis process: Blood collection is made easier,by providing a small surface on which the blood is placed; drying is made easier, because the user does notneed to worry about how long to dry or maintaining the drying container in an upright orientation or a specialenvironment; shipping and storage is made easier, because the samples can be shipped immediately or storedindefinitely in the same container; and extraction of the DNA is made more efficient using ultrasound.Additionally, ultrasound has been proven to break the DNA up into the desired lengths that sequencingmachines work with best.