MAY 04, 2021 8:30 AM PDT

Vibrating Needles Make for Better Biopsies

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandez

To understand what’s going on with a patient, doctors may take a biopsy—a sample of tissue extracted from a suspicious lump, for example. Fine needles are typically used for this purpose, in a technique that has remained mostly the same over the last 150 years.

“Biopsy yields – the amount of tissue extracted – are often inadequate, with some studies showing that up to a third of fine-needle biopsies struggle to get enough tissue for a reliable diagnosis,” said Heikki Nieminen, an inventor of a new vibrating biopsy needle that overcomes these challenges.

“A biopsy can be painful, and the wait for the results from a diagnostic test can be a highly distressing time for the patient and family, especially if diagnosis needs re-biopsies to be conclusive. We wanted to make the procedure more gentle for the patient, and increase the certainty that the test will be able to give us an answer on the first attempt,” explained Nieminen.

Nieminen and researchers at Aalto University in Finland have built a device called the SonoLancet that uses conventional syringes and fine needle tips. It works by vibrating the needle tip at incredibly high frequencies—around 30,000 times per second—which causes the tissue around the needle tip to behave more like a liquid than a solid. This enables the user to extract more of the tissue through the narrow needle tip while minimizing discomfort to the patient.

“The vibrations are localized to just the tip, so it doesn’t affect any other tissue except a small region around the needle,” said Emanuele Perra, another scientist involved in the work. “We were able to show that the ultrasonic vibrations increase the biopsy yield by 3 to 6 times compared to the same needle without ultrasound, which was even greater than we hoped for.”

 


Sources: Scientific Reports, Aalto University.

About the Author
  • Tara Fernandez has a PhD in Cell Biology and has spent over a decade uncovering the molecular basis of diseases ranging from skin cancer to obesity and diabetes. She currently works on developing and marketing disruptive new technologies in the biotechnology industry. Her areas of interest include innovation in molecular diagnostics, cell therapies, and immunology. She actively participates in various science communication and public engagement initiatives to promote STEM in the community.
You May Also Like
DEC 29, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Injectable Heart Health Tracker Now Picks Up COVID Red Flags
DEC 29, 2020
Injectable Heart Health Tracker Now Picks Up COVID Red Flags
The statistics are a real eye-opener: in the United States, one person dies every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease ...
JAN 31, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Targeting Aneuploidy in Cancer Cells
JAN 31, 2021
Targeting Aneuploidy in Cancer Cells
Cancer is typically related to problems in cells' genomes that lead to uncontrolled cell growth, and the formation of tu ...
FEB 02, 2021
Cardiology
Investigating a Stress Protein's Relation to Heart Failure
FEB 02, 2021
Investigating a Stress Protein's Relation to Heart Failure
As medicine advances, the world’s population gradually becomes older and older. Cardiovascular disease becomes mor ...
MAR 02, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Splice and Dice: Zeroing in on Rare Gene Variants in Alzheimer's
MAR 02, 2021
Splice and Dice: Zeroing in on Rare Gene Variants in Alzheimer's
DNA is the four-letter language that codes for genes, “paragraphs” of DNA information that carry specific in ...
APR 05, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
COVID Variants Can't Hide From CRISPR Diagnostic
APR 05, 2021
COVID Variants Can't Hide From CRISPR Diagnostic
New variants of the coronaviruses have emerged over the course of the pandemic through the natural evolutionary process ...
APR 13, 2021
Cardiology
Can a Ketosis Metabolite Act as a Biomarker for Cardiovascular Diseases?
APR 13, 2021
Can a Ketosis Metabolite Act as a Biomarker for Cardiovascular Diseases?
Quick and reliable diagnostics are the key to controlling many diseases, including cardiovascular disease. Biomarkers ar ...
Loading Comments...