An affordable, biodegradable single-use lancet: increasing access for pregnant women and newborns to safe, point-of-care testing in resource-limited settings

Massachusetts General Hospital
Organization Location: 
Boston, MA, USA

Lack of access to laboratory testing for prevalent diseases in resource-limited settings is a major concern for maternal and newborn health. Although a market for affordable point-of-care testing is emerging, the price point for commercial single-use lancets is prohibitive for most countries. As a result, many healthcare providers are forced to choose between multiple uses of a lancet/needle and the inability to test for disease or administer medication. To solve this dilemma, we propose development of a low-cost (under 5 cents), biocompatible, biodegradable non-reusable lancet. The lancet will be designed to become dysfunctional after a single use, rendering it impossible to re-use. This lancet innovation could extend access of quality diagnostics to millions of people around the world. Additionally, our lancet could significantly decrease incidence of occupational exposure to blood borne infections among health workers in resource-limited settings. The project is led by Massachusetts General Hospital. The team brings unique and diverse skill sets including expertise in materials science, technology development, and clinical experience in resource-poor settings. Our lancet, based on cutting-edge materials science technology, represents a technological leap in safety and creates a platform for development of non-reusable needles/syringes to complement the emerging wave of low-cost, point-of-care diagnostic tests (e.g., paper-based microfluidic devices). Our device is much less expensive than commercial lancets, and is safer than existing lancets because ours will become dysfunctional after single use.

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