Biomed company and GHRI test new device for collecting blood

Sep 27, 2016

Tasso study team: GHRI Director of Clinical Research Tricia Buscio, Tasso Vice President of Research and Development Dr. Erwin Berthier, Tasso Vice President of Engineering Dr. Ben Casavant, GHRI Senior Investigator Dr. Lisa Jackson, GHRI Immunization Clinical Trials Program-Clinical Affairs Manager Maya Dunstan, GHRI Research Support Specialist Kelli O’Hara  

The GHRI-industry collaboration will study sample collection for lab tests, writes Clinical Research Director Tricia Buscio.

by Tricia Buscio, RN, MHA, MSLaw, Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) director of clinical research

GHRI scientists lead and collaborate on hundreds of health studies every year. We’re known for our research in healthy aging, chronic disease management, and health data analysis, among other fields. More than 95 percent of our funding is from foundations and federal sources like the National Institutes of Health. We’re proud to do that work. But GHRI researchers have many areas of expertise, so we’re always looking to diversify our projects. A new clinical study we are launching with Tasso, Inc. is a perfect example.

The trial: Looking at ways to draw blood

Tasso, a bioengineering company based in Seattle, is developing a blood-collection device called the HemoLink. The device sticks to the skin on the upper arm, and collects blood over a few minutes using four small lancets. It works by capillary action, similar to how people with diabetes obtain blood from a finger prick to monitor glucose using a test strip. The HemoLink could have advantages over current ways to collect blood. Users might find it less painful than other methods. The HemoLink has been through proof-of-concept testing at Tasso. Now, the device needs to be studied in a larger, diverse population to understand how it works in the real world. That’s the purpose of our study, led by Lisa A. Jackson MD, MPH, GHRI senior investigator, and Ben Casavant, PhD, and Erwin Berthier, PhD, who are Tasso biomedical engineers and co-inventors of the HemoLink device.

Tasso, Inc.

We’ll be recruiting about 170 healthy people aged 18 to 75 to participate in our study comparing the HemoLink to standard methods of collecting blood from a finger or vein. All blood collection will be by trained personnel at the GHRI research clinic in downtown Seattle. We’ll ask study participants about their user experience and measure the amount and quality of blood for standard laboratory tests such as cholesterol levels.

Watch for a recruitment letter

We’ve just mailed letters to selected Group Health members to invite them to participate in the HemoLink study. If you receive a letter and are interested in joining, please consider contacting us and participating.

This study is a true collaboration between biomedical engineers at Tasso who understand the device and Dr. Jackson, who has expertise in clinical study design and data analysis. The results will inform the next step, which could be another partnership that we are currently exploring. The HemoLink has the potential to be self-administered, which makes it interesting to the U.S. Army. GHRI, with Tasso and scientists at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington, are exploring funding opportunities to further test the device.

GHRI is always interested in hearing about new opportunities for collaborations. Diana Buist, PhD, GHRI director of research and strategic partnership, tells me our new study is a great example of the types of partnerships we are seeking—ones that use our skills and resources in population-based studies to find practical health solutions. We look forward to more collaborations with our state’s growing science, engineering, and technology industry.


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