University of Hawai'i
(808) 956-8856 Telephone
For Immediate Release:
January 16, 2001
CONTACT: Shawn Nakamoto, (808) 956-6934, University & Community Relations
|UH Scientist Receives Patent for Laboratory Tool|
HONOLULU- UH Manoa Scientist, Dick Y. Teshima received patent # 6,083,759 on July 4, 2000. The patent is called the "Blood Smearing Cassette." It is a small tool invented to help prepare blood smears for hematological studies.
According to Teshima, "a good blood smear is essential in evaluating the cellular morphology under the microscope. Without a good smear, diagnosis of many anemias, leukemias, infection, congenital anomalies, etc. cannot be made with certainty."
Shortages of funding for medical laboratories since the early 1980's have forced labs to replace their technical personnel with unskilled workers trained to perform simple tasks. Also, simplified procedures have involved more inexperienced people in laboratory procedures. Phlebotomists, who may not be proficient at compiling the smears, often prepare the smears at a patient's bedside.
Teshima invented the blood-smearing cassette to aid the new workforce of less-skilled laboratory workers in creating the blood smears. Before the cassette was invented, a Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) or Clinical Laboratory Technician (CLT) was trained to hold two microscope slides at specific angles. A major difficulty with the traditional method of preparing smears is holding the slides steady while spreading the blood sample.
The new cassette holds the two slides at the exact angles, allowing those with less training to prepare smears accurately. This frees the CLS's and CLT's for more of the complex analysis work involved in hematological studies and it also allows laboratories to reduce their costs.
"I had a couple of designs and prototype models made before the current model was developed for initial testing. From application of the patent to its approval took nearly three years," says Teshima.
With the patent approved, a local company has already made several working models to be shown to vendors. These models are sturdier than Teshima's original constructions. It is hoped that laboratories will take advantage of the new technology soon.
Teshima has a Master's Degree in Public Health from the University of
Hawai'i. He is a certified Medical Technologist with the American Society
of Clinical Pathologists.