UH Scientist Receives Patent for Laboratory Tool

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Jan 16, 2001

HONOLULU- UH Manoa Scientist, Dick Y. Teshima received patent# 6,083,759 on July 4, 2000. The patent is called the "Blood SmearingCassette." It is a small tool invented to help prepare blood smearsfor hematological studies.

According to Teshima, "a good blood smear is essential in evaluatingthe cellular morphology under the microscope. Without a good smear, diagnosisof many anemias, leukemias, infection, congenital anomalies, etc. cannotbe made with certainty."

Shortages of funding for medical laboratories since the early 1980'shave forced labs to replace their technical personnel with unskilled workerstrained to perform simple tasks. Also, simplified procedures have involvedmore inexperienced people in laboratory procedures. Phlebotomists, who maynot be proficient at compiling the smears, often prepare the smears at apatient's bedside.

Teshima invented the blood-smearing cassette to aid the new workforceof less-skilled laboratory workers in creating the blood smears. Beforethe cassette was invented, a Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) or ClinicalLaboratory Technician (CLT) was trained to hold two microscope slides atspecific angles. A major difficulty with the traditional method of preparingsmears is holding the slides steady while spreading the blood sample.

The new cassette holds the two slides at the exact angles, allowing thosewith less training to prepare smears accurately. This frees the CLS's andCLT's for more of the complex analysis work involved in hematological studiesand it also allows laboratories to reduce their costs.

"I had a couple of designs and prototype models made before thecurrent model was developed for initial testing. From application of thepatent to its approval took nearly three years," says Teshima.

With the patent approved, a local company has already made several workingmodels to be shown to vendors. These models are sturdier than Teshima'soriginal constructions. It is hoped that laboratories will take advantageof the new technology soon.

Teshima has a Master's Degree in Public Health from the University ofHawai'i. He is a certified Medical Technologist with the American Societyof Clinical Pathologists.