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ACS News Service Weekly PressPac: Wed Jan 19 15:42:03 EST 2011

40-year-old test procedure finds modern niche in developing new medicines

Technology Renews A Basic Approach
Chemical & Engineering News

The blood test procedure used on newborn infants for 40 years is finding a second life in the search for new lifesaving medications, according to an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS’ weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Senior Editor Celia Henry Arnaud notes that collecting drops of blood from patients and depositing the drops on special paper cards to dry has been used for decades to screen newborns for hereditary disorders and infectious disease. But the dried blood spot technology has found a new role at pharmaceutical companies in the development and testing of new drugs.

The approach, possible now because modern lab instruments are more sensitive, has distinct advantages. The dried blood approach, for instance, involves taking only a few drops of blood from patients in clinical trials, and these can be stored and shipped more easily and inexpensively than liquid samples. Those advantages, alone, could cut the cost of introducing new drugs by millions of dollars, the article indicates.

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