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New Blood Collecting Hardware to Land in the UK

A leading global medical technology company, Becton Dickinson, has launched a new blood collection set. It recently achieved European CE marking and so has launched the new set in the UK. It is called the BD Vacutainer UltraTouch Push Button Blood Collection Set.

The set employs technology which basically makes the patient more comfortable by making the needle less painful when being inserted. BD calls this technology ‘PentaPoint’ which makes it sound like some horrific 5-pointed needle, but it is much less sinister. The technology has been used in BD’s insulin injection needles and studies have shown that this design helps reduce the chance of a painful injection. It does this by creating a flatter, thinner needle to help penetrate with superior ease.

Furthermore, the new device uses what BD call ‘RightGauge’ technology. This increases the needle’s inner diameter without impacting the strength of the needle. This means that a smaller gauge needle can be used to make the patient feel more comfortable and will be less painful. This also aids in difficult venous access and can make life much easier for patients, without sacrificing the quality of the blood. By utilising both technologies, the BD UltraTouch Push Button Blood Collection Set has been shown to decrease penetration forces by up to 32 percent.

The device also delivers proven protection for healthcare professionals who perform the blood drawing procedure. Needlestick injuries are dangerous for healthcare professionals as it can cause serious complications. Needlestick is the term used when healthcare professional may accidentally injure themselves with the used needle or scalpel.

Mike Fairbourn, Vice President and General Manager for BD in the UK and Ireland said: “Phlebotomy is often one of the first procedures hospital patients undergo and it can set the tone for their experience, the combination of BD’s latest technology will both reduce pain and improve clinicians’ ability to access difficult veins, enhancing the experience for all those involved. Clinicians can select the gauge that is most appropriate for their patients, without compromising sample quality, testing accuracy or their own efficiency.”

Anything that improves the comfort of the patient and efficiency with which blood is drawn is something that Phlebotomy Training services can get behind.

To learn more about this technology, or to find out about our services in phlebotomy training simply call us on 01609 751 610.

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Blood test to catch pancreatic cancer in early stages

A new blood test is currently being studied which detects pancreatic cancer in its early stages.

Pancreatic cancer, which is caused by abnormal growth of cells in the pancreas, has few symptoms in the early stages and as a result, only 5 per cent of people diagnosed with this cancer are still alive five years later. Because there are few early symptoms and detection of the cancer is difficult, due to its location in the body, the cancer often becomes too advanced to treat. This blood test could therefore potentially save many lives by detecting the cancer early on, allowing specialists to completely remove it before it spreads, which is the only effective treatment.

Currently the best screening tool for pancreatic cancer is ultrasound, however this is not always an effective detector.  Researchers at Arizona State University have therefore developed this blood test to create a more accurate, effective, and accessible way to spot the cancer in its early-stages.

How it works

This blood test works by recognising the specific extracellular vesicles which the cancerous cells produce in the pancreas, before entering the blood supply. The researchers developed gold nanoparticles which selectively bind to these cancer vesicles in blood samples. Once the nanoparticles have bound to these vesicles, they signal the presence of pancreatic cancer by changing their light-emitting properties.

The researchers found that in the study they performed, the test picked up early stage pancreatic cancer in more than 90 per cent of cases.

Further testing was also done to see if the blood test could distinguish between pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis. The reason for this being that pancreatitis, an inflammatory condition, is often difficult to distinguish from pancreatic cancer using ultrasound. The blood test however, was very effective and could tell the difference between the two conditions.

Future research

As the development of this test is in its early stages, wider testing is still required and the researchers plan to conduct larger trials.

If the test is approved, it will be the only blood test available for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. This could be very valuable for large-scale screening and could also be adapted to screen for other diseases such as lung cancer and tuberculosis.

This blood test could therefore revolutionise the way doctors detect and diagnose pancreatic cancer, potentially leading to an increase in the survival rates of this nasty disease.

Phlebotomy Training Services provide phlebotomy training to a huge array of people, including medical researchers. To find out more about the services we offer, including the new diploma in phlebotomy then just call us on 01609 751 610.

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Magnets used to remove Sepsis-causing bacteria from blood

Sepsis, caused by the immune response overreacting to a bacterial infection, can be a life-threating condition often leading to organ failure.  

Although Bacteria are usually to blame for Sepsis, sometimes the source of the infection can be viruses or microscopic fungi. An infection anywhere in the body can trigger Sepsis, however the most serious cases are when it spreads to the bloodstream. The cause of Sepsis can therefore be very challenging to identify and because of this, it can be difficult to treat. However, researchers have found a possible new way to treat these infections by using magnets to remove these deadly germs from the blood.

To identify the germ responsible for the infection, doctors usually collect a sample of blood and send it to the lab where technicians multiply the microbes allowing them to identify the germ. This is a very time consuming process and during this time the Sepsis can become worse. However, the new idea for attacking these infections, currently being tested by researchers, could mean that the infection can be treated more quickly, even before the germ is identified.

As the immune system works by using antibodies to latch onto and attack the germ as they are carried around the blood, a group of American researchers have developed a single antibody which have the ability to recognize nine of the ten most common Sepsis-causing bacteria. Taking this one step further, the researchers developed a way to make the antibody stick to tiny particles of iron oxide. The researchers reasoned that if these antibody-coated iron bits were mixed into a patient’s blood, bacteria should stick to them. Magnets could then be used to pull the iron particles from the blood, along with the bacteria.

In the future, this germ-filtering method could potentially be used as a treatment outside of the body by pumping infected blood through a machine before using magnets in the machine to remove the germs as they become coated with the iron-oxide and antibody mixture. The other benefit of this method would be that the magnetic filtering would concentrate the bacteria, speeding up the process of identification and allowing doctors to treat patients more quickly.

As this is a relatively new idea which has only been tested on cells and blood-like solutions, further research is required. Magnetic germ removal has not been tested on animals or people yet and this could highlight possible weaknesses with this method. In addition, it has been argued that treating a patient using this method could take huge amounts of tiny iron particles, which could be another potential impracticality.

Although further testing is required, this is a fantastic piece of research which could contribute to improving the methods for treating Sepsis, a condition which effects many people around the world.

Phlebotomy Training Services provide phlebotomy training to a huge array of people, including medical researchers. To find out more about the services we offer, including the new diploma in phlebotomy then just call us on 01609 751 610.