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Dermatology Online Journal

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Innovations in translational research in dermatology: minimally invasive methods for biosample acquisition


Translational research has improved patient care over the last decade. In dermatology, this research often requires human tissue for laboratory analysis. The skin biopsy remains the gold standard for tissue acquisition, but the procedure comes with a small risk of bleeding and infection. It also causes scarring and anxiety in certain populations. These risks and concerns may affect participation rates in translational studies, which can require multiple biopsies. Minimally invasive procedures may mitigate these risks and concerns. We queried the PubMed database for all minimally invasive technologies studied as of May 2021. Of the 53 articles reviewed, we identified 13 unique, minimally invasive methods for tissue biosample acquisition. Herein, we describe each sampling method, biosample type analyzed, disease target, molecular application, procedure, quantity of obtained biosample, purpose, and required equipment. We organize this information into a comprehensive chart. We then synthesize this information into another table that compares the pros and cons of each intervention. We found that tape stripping, suction blistering, hair plucking, microbiopsy, and microneedle patching provide a variety of useful biosample types for laboratory analysis. In translational research, these technologies have the potential to replace more invasive methods like the punch biopsy, likely improving participation in studies.

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