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Fields & Applications Mass Spectrometry, Genomics & DNA Analysis, Metabolomics & Lipidomics

Dried Blood Spot 101

Dried Blood Spot 101

Introduced by Robert Guthrie in the 1960s, dried blood spot (DBS) sampling involves taking small drops of blood from either a finger prick (or heel prick in neonates) and depositing them on specially manufactured absorbent card where they are allowed to dry. Once dry, DBS cards can be readily transported by post for analysis since the components of the blood remain unchanged for several days, even at room temperature. For analysis, a portion of the blood spot is removed from the card and placed in a solvent to extract the analyte(s) of interest. Therein lies the elegance and ease of the DBS sampling system: no specialist collection, no liquid blood, and no refrigerants. Guthrie card samples have seen widespread and routine use for neonatal screening of metabolic disorders, such as phenylketonuria, sickle cell disorders, and HIV infection.

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About the Authors

Sangeeta Tanna

Sangeeta Tanna holds a PhD in pharmaceutics in the development of an artificial pancreas. Her expertise and research interests lie in the bioanalysis and drug delivery fields. This has led to the development of micro-analytical methodologies for the determination of therapeutic drugs from dried blood spots (DBS) based on LC-MS and LC-MS/MS studies for a range of clinical applications. This research was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Analytical Methods Prize in 2010. Applications of this work to patient care include improved medication for babies and people with cardiovascular diseases.


Graham Lawson

Graham Lawson’s expertise is instrumental analysis in such disparate areas as environmental exposure in the polymer industry, the identification of migrants from food packaging and factors influencing drug delivery in clinical applications. The unifying themes are the detection of ultra low levels of contamination and the protection of people from adverse exposures. He was co-opted onto a NATO special studies group on the Stand-off detection of radiation. His current research interests include novel analytical techniques applied to blood spot analyses and to counterfeit drug detection.

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