A miniaturized vacuum tube system for self-administered blood collection for radiation countermeasures
Sample collection and preprocessing are critical to rapid high-throughput biodosimetry that is important for exposure triage after a potential largescale radiological event such as a terrorist attack using an improvised nuclear device in a metropolitan area. However, such collection and preprocessing of biofluids should not rely on medical infrastructure and trained personnel due to the chaotic situation following the radiological event. There is a critical need for a self-administered blood collector device suitable for preserving the quality and integrity of the biospecimen to be analyzed by the current (cytogenetic) and emerging (gene expression) biodosimetry assays. Vacuum tubes have long been used as a simple and elegant way to collect blood samples, but the tube and blood volumes are usually several milliliters, too large for high throughput applications. In this project, we demonstrated a miniaturized vacuum tube system (VacuStorTM) that uses commercially available 96-well format storage tubes to collect a fingerprick amount of blood (i.e. 20-100 μl). Threshold vacuums for full sample transfer were identified experimentally and compared to the theoretical values according to ideal gas law. Low temperature and parylene coating were also demonstrated to extend the shelf life of the VacuStor tubes from ~ 2 months to ~years, making it a commercially feasible approach. The VacuStor system will be further integrated into a self-administered blood collector device that would enable the rapid and high-throughput biodosimetry for radiation countermeasures.