For allergy sufferers, the word "goldenrod" may evoke images of discomfort. But for mice and medical researchers, the word may soon be a symbol of relief. "Goldenrod," the name of a new lancet developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists, is being lauded as a humane and painless tool to draw blood from laboratory mice.
Mice are indispensable participants in biomedical research, and their comfort is a priority for those who work with them. But collecting blood samples can be a difficult process.
Traditionally, drawing blood from the mouse's cheek has required a deft and practiced hand. The Goldenrod lancet makes the process much easier. Named for its inventors (ARS microbiologist William Golde, MEDIpoint engineer Peter Gollibin, and ARS research leader Luis Rodriguez), the lancet bypasses the shortcomings of traditional methods.
Medical manufacturer MEDIpoint, of Mineola, N.Y., helped design the product, which is modeled on the lancets used for humans. The Goldenrod draws four to 10 drops of blood from the mouse, while causing minimal discomfort. Golde compares the process to the "thumb sticks" diabetics use to test their blood sugar levels.
Repeated tests show that mice experience greater ease with the Goldenrod lancet than with alternative methods. In addition, the Goldenrod is safe, inexpensive and easy to use. Its many advantages have won praise from the medical community for the ARS scientists at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, Orient Point, N.Y.
The Federal Laboratory Consortium honored the team with an Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer in a Sept. 15 ceremony. This award recognizes researchers who bring their federally developed technology to the market.
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief in-house scientific research agency.