TissueGrab™ Biopsy Dart Product Release

How much does it “cost” your program to acquire biopsy samples from marine animals and/or rare event species?  Do you require multiple attempts to get a biopsy?  Do these attempts needlessly injure and stress the animal? Did you acquire enough biomass of the sample to perform experiments?  Are you dissatisfied with existing biopsy tips on the market?  Wasted sampling opportunities represent a tremendous sacrifice of planning, time, funding, information, and resources.

Current biopsy sampling technologies used in the marine environment are expensive and many researchers use “re-usable” tips.  These (usually) metal tips rust (especially in the marine environment) contaminating the animal and potentially causing a route for infection, illness, or even death.  If improperly cleaned/sterilized between sampling events, the re-usable tips can also cross-contaminate samples, invalidating sampling programs and/or results from these samples.  In many cases, however, compounding the problems are that these tips simply fail to acquire a sufficient sample because they become blunt, and therefore ineffective.

 To overcome problems with existing technology, TissueGrab Biopsy Systems LLC (“TG”), while committed to providing innovative solutions to your research needs, proudly announces our latest instrument for acquiring tissue samples from marine animals – The TissueGrab™ Biopsy Dart. Our patent pending device will circumvent needless injury to subjects, significantly eliminate or reduce repetitive sampling attempts, and will maximize sampling opportunities and therefore the cost-benefit of sampling programs.


The TissueGrab™ Biopsy Dart (patent pending) is a minimally invasive, single-use biopsy sampling device used to collect ~1 cm3 biological tissue plugs/samples (e.g., blood, blubber, muscle, skin) from marine mammals (i.e, cetaceans and delphinids), sharks and fishes for the purposes of, but not limited to; physiological, reproductive, genetic, and other biological studies.  To minimize stress, subjects can be sampled safely and effectively in the water using the TissueGrab™.






The TissueGrab™ design overcomes numerous short comings of existing biopsy sampling technologies, instruments and devices; being designed according to the following principles:

•   Minimally invasive                  

•   Safely acquire biological tissue samples
•   Several features to reliably acquire tissue samples on the first attempt (i.e., one strike, one sample)
•   Sufficient sample volume (~1 cm3) for multiple assays
•   Pre-assembled, sterile, single-use tips prevents sample cross contamination, injury and/or infection of the test subject compared to re-using tips
•   Single-use tips can be stored with the sample intact for off-site analysis (i.e., tag it and bag it)
•   Mounted on a tethered pole, harpoon, lance, spear, arrow or other striking device using universal M8 (metric) hex bolt (1.25 x 70 mm)
•   Scalable to meet requirements of particular species and body sizes
•   Tapered and sharpened tips; and novel design allow for clean exit wounds (e.g., wound size insignificant compared to wounds caused by cookie cutter sharks Isistius brasiliensis)
•   Single-use screw-on tips allow for efficient sample acquisition, storage and documentation (e.g., sample numbers can be written on the tip) systems.





Fig. 2.  The TissueGrab™ Biopsy Dart (patent pending) is comprised of medical grade nylon.  The biopsy samples can be removed by unscrewing the lower baseplate from the actual sampling device, preventing samples from being contaminated.   The end of the baseplate has a threaded brass section to accept an M8 (hex) bolt (see Fig. 3)

Pelagic Research Group LLC

Contact TG for ordering information at: TissueGrab@gmail.com

Fig. 3.  Display of a sample collected from the TissueGrab™ Biopsy Dart (patent pending) indicating tissue volume retrieved (~1 cm3) and exit wound.  Brass insert to mate M8 bolt with striking device is shown in upper left (end baseplate).

Fig. 1.  Schematic design of the TissueGrab™ Biopsy Dart (patent pending).  Several innovative features converge to “grab” and hold samples. 

1. Barbs in the expanded chamber section.

2. Tissue expands when it enters the wider chamber.

3. Rough interior of tunnel and chamber.

4. Recessed cutouts in chamber prevent positive pressure buildup.