Issue Date: February 28, 2011
Automated Blood-Spot Screening
A colleague loaned me her copy of the Jan. 17 issue of C&EN to share the article “Technology Renews a Basic Approach” by Celia Henry Arnaud (page 13). Having focused largely on testing dried blood spots from newborns for over 40 years, I found the article, and the “rediscovery” of dried blood spots by the research/pharmaceutical community, very interesting.
However, I was surprised by a couple of comments regarding a lack of automation. The investigators should reach out to the newborn screening community (for example, the National Newborn Screening & Genetics Resource Center: genes-r-us.uthscsa.edu) where automation is the bread and butter of our existence. For example, automated punching equipment has been a mainstay in newborn screening laboratories since the mid-1970s. With more than 4 million babies screened each year—many of them twice—for 25 or more congenital conditions, the 40 or so newborn screening laboratories in the U.S. rely heavily on automated processing of the dried blood specimens.
Director, Newborn Screening
Washington State Department of Health
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