Dried blood spot (DBS) analysis has been known for more than five decades. It is an easy way of collecting, shipping and storing blood samples. In recent years the usage of dried blood spots (DBS) has gained increasing importance since this method shows strong advantages compared to the conventional collection and analysis of blood or plasma samples. These advantages include the need for remarkably lower blood volumes and easier shipping and storage, often at ambient temperatures. This leads to a simplification of the blood collection process and a significant reduction of the costs involved.
The blood sample needs to be extracted from the DBS card prior to the analysis. This was a major drawback of DBS since sample extraction from a high number of DBS cards was very tedious and required many process steps to be performed manually. The conventional processing of DBS is illustrated in the workflow (left arrow). Hence, analysis of DBS was time-consuming and costly before the introduction of the CAMAG DBS-MS 500.
Typical fields of applications are newborn screening (NBS), where only a very small amount of blood is available. Every newborn in modern countries is screened for inborn errors via DBS. Also therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) is a major field for the DBS technology, since drawing blood samples can be performed by the patients themselves and it is minimally invasive. Samples can be shipped to centralized laboratories via the standard mail delivery. For those reasons DBS is also applied in clinical studies. Furthermore, in preclinical studies the number of test animals can be reduced (due to the need for lower blood volumes) which is in accordance with the 3R requirement of animal studies (replacement, reduction, refinement). Personalized healthcare analysis of metabolites via automated DBS analysis is more affordable for the end user and represents a growing market. Regulated substance abuse testing is performed via DBS as well.