BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention is broadly concerned with an adhesive-backed DNA storage device. In more detail, the present invention is concerned with a DNA storage device which can be attached to many different surfaces through an adhesive-containing sticker surface on the storage device. Even more particularly, the present invention is concerned with a DNA storage device which has a top surface which includes indicia related to a specific individual's medical history and/or identification. The bottom surface of this storage device includes adhesive so that the device can be attached to a variety of surfaces. Between this top surface and bottom surface, there is an area designed for the storage of a DNA-containing object. Most particularly, the present invention is concerned with a combination DNA storage device and sticker wherein the combination has identification and medical related indicia printed thereon, a storage area for the DNA-containing object, an adhesive surface, and a sheet of removable backing paper covering the adhesive surface until placement of the device.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Medical alert and identification tags have been used in the past to assist in the identification of individuals and provide a selected amount of information regarding the individual's medical history or condition. Such tags have taken on a variety of forms including bracelets, cards, record books, computer readable memory devices, and stickers. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,050,605 discloses a wallet card containing microfilm chips bearing medical information. Other examples are provided by U.S. Pat. No. 4,078,660 which discloses a medical alert bracelet and U.S. Pat. No. 4,318,554 which discloses an informational credit card-like device. Such devices do not include any indication of how to positively identify the identity of the individual holding the card or wearing the device. Furthermore, these devices are designed to be carried or worn by the individual and can be easily lost or the individual may not carry the device at all times, thereby severely reducing their usefulness.
The remaining prior art lacks in the area of portability in that the object upon which the medical information is stored is either easily separated from the individual to whom it is related or is not of a convenient enough size to be placed in enough areas for emergency usage.
Similarly, DNA storage devices have taken on a variety of forms including boxes, vials, and other receptacles. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,140,936 discloses a personal electronic storage device container and labeling. This patent discloses a memory card containing information related to medical treatment in conjunction with jewelry. The card contains a label having some critical medical information thereon with the bulk of information being provided on the memory card. It was suggested in this patent that a DNA-containing sample could be attached to the surface of the chip for DNA testing and verification of identity. As with the prior art medical alert bracelets and cards, such an invention can be easily misplaced or not worn. Consequently, the critical information contained on the memory card and/or any other associated information or DNA identification aid would not be readily accessible when needed. Such devices are also deficient in that they are not designed to be placed in a variety of places in a manner which makes the DNA sample and corresponding medical or health information remain together and hard to separate from the location where they are placed.
What is needed in the art is a device object which contains easily readable medical information and a DNA-containing object which was obtained from the individual providing the medical information on the object. More particularly, what is needed is a sticker which houses a DNA-containing object and has a top surface which includes any necessary medical or health-related information. Such a sticker could be carried as a card, or placed on a variety of surfaces such as on passports, driver's licenses, in each room of houses, in automobiles, on other motorized and non-motorized vehicles, and virtually any other surface which would support a sticker, thereby increasing the likelihood that the medical information and/or DNA-containing object will be easily accessible when needed.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention overcomes the problems outlined above, and provides a distinct advance in the state of the art. The invention provides a device which houses a DNA-containing object. Preferably, the device contains adhesive on at least one side. The invention further provides indicia on a portion of the device and this indicia contains information comprising identifying information, medical information, and medical history information. The DNA-containing object is obtained from the individual corresponding to the indicia. The device may also contain supplemental information, such as health related information, a detailed medical history, prescription drug information, allergy alerts, or a complete medical profile of the individual providing the DNA-containing object, wherein the supplemental information is provided as the printed indicia or is contained on a medium which is able to be read with the aid of an electronic device such as a computer. Computer readable chips or discs including compact discs as well as bar codes are examples of such a medium. Thus, the present invention can be used for identification verification, as a quick reference for important medical or personal information, or as a more detailed reference for such information.
Broadly speaking, the device of the present invention comprises a receptacle adapted for storing a DNA-containing object and preferably a layer of adhesive for attaching the receptacle to a variety of surfaces. The device includes at least some printed indicia thereon and this printed indicia may be included on a layer of material attached to or overlying the receptacle. The printed indicia preferably includes identifying information regarding the individual from whom the DNA-containing object was obtained. The amount of printed indicia can vary and when more information is desired, the device can further include information which can be read or deciphered via electronic means. Thus, in some embodiments, the receptacle and/or the layer of material overlying the receptacle may include basic information such as name, birth date, or social security number and additional information such as a detailed medical history can be contained in a bar code or computer readable memory device or can be included with the printed indicia. Such a computer readable memory device may include a compact disc or the like and this memory device may be contained in the same receptacle as the DNA-containing object. In some forms, the invention may include a protective shield or enclosure for the memory device.
The DNA-containing object can be any object from which DNA can be extracted including hair, fingernails, blood, saliva, skin and combinations thereof. The object can be large or small depending upon the receptacle size and desired placement of the invention. The DNA-containing object may be contained on a separate medium designed to protect and/or preserve the DNA in the object. Moreover, the separate medium may also be used to obtain the DNA sample. For example, IsoCode Paper (Schleicher & Schuell GmbH, Dassel/Relliehausen, Germany) is designed to obtain and preserve DNA in a saliva sample and such an object may be used with the present invention.
For purposes of the present invention, the receptacle may comprise any object capable of holding a DNA-containing object. Thus, the receptacle may comprise something as simple as the space created when two layers of material are joined together. Other preferred forms of receptacles include cut-out portions of core layers, flexible blister pouches, and rigid blister pouches. In other forms, the receptacle is sized to accommodate the DNA-containing object and a memory device either with or without a protective sleeve or enclosure.
In one embodiment, the invention comprises a DNA-containing object sandwiched between two layers of material. The top layer of material includes the desired indicia (printed and/or computer readable) and the bottom layer of material includes a layer of adhesive for sticking to other surfaces. This embodiment may further include a sheet of removable backing paper or another suitable releasing agent overlying the layer of adhesive such that the invention can be transported to its ultimate destination before having the removable backing paper removed and the invention attached to some surface. Such an embodiment could be attached to a driver's license, passport, interior of a car, laptop computer, or any other surface likely to be near the individual. In this embodiment, the invention resembles a two-layer sticker with the top layer including indicia on the front side and adhesive on the back side and the bottom layer including adhesive on each side such that the top layer adhesive and the bottom layer adhesive are attached. Alternatively, just one of these layers needs adhesive thereon or the adhesive can be separately applied. The DNA-containing object is retained between these two layers of adhesive or two layers of the sticker with the back side of the bottom layer being attached to another surface.
In another embodiment, the invention comprises a receptacle for holding a DNA-containing object and a layer of adhesive on the receptacle. Printed indicia can be contained on the receptacle itself or on a separate layer of material attached to the receptacle. This separate layer of material preferably includes a front side and an opposed back side wherein the back side is attached to the receptacle, preferably via an adhesive which can be contained on the layer, the receptacle, separately applied or any combination thereof. This layer of material may enclose the DNA-containing object within the receptacle and may further include indicia on the front side of the layer of material. In a preferred form of this embodiment, the receptacle comprises a core layer having a cut-out portion for receiving and holding the DNA-containing object. This cut-out portion can extend through the core layer or can just be a cavity which does not extend through the core. The core will have a top side to which a sheet of material is attached and a bottom side. The bottom side will either have adhesive thereon or there will be another layer of material adjacent the core bottom side and this layer of material will have adhesive on both sides. Regardless of where the adhesive is contained, the adhesive may be covered by a releasing agent or by a sheet of removable backing paper. The sheet of material attached to the top side of the core preferably includes the indicia. In some forms, the sheet of material may be attached to the core portion via adhesive contained either on the sheet or on the core or separately applied. In other forms, the sheet of material may have adhesive thereon and further include a sheet of removable backing paper overlying the adhesive such that after a DNA-containing object is placed in the cut-out portion, the removable backing paper is removed from the layer of material and this layer of material is placed on top of the core, thereby enclosing the DNA-containing object within the cavity and under the layer of material. When attachment and re-attachment is desired, a releasing agent can be applied to facilitate such action. When a releasing agent is utilized, a sheet of removable backing paper can still be used to prevent inadvertent adhering of the layers. In a variation of this form, the sheet of material may include a hinged portion overlying the cut-out portion and this hinged portion can be separated from the cut-out portion by a sheet of removable backing paper. In this form, the DNA-containing object is placed within the cut-out portion, the sheet of removable backing paper is removed from the sheet of material and the core and hinged portion are adhered together. Alternatively, the hinged portion is peeled up to expose the cut-out portion of the core, the DNA-containing object is placed within the cutout portion and the hinged portion repositioned over the cut-out portion to enclose the DNA-containing object therein. In some forms of this embodiment, the hinged portion will be adhered to the area of the core surrounding the cut-out portion. Thus, a sheet of removable backing paper or a releasing agent can be included between the core and the hinged portion and removed when it is desired to enclose the cut-out portion and any DNA-containing object contained therein.
In yet another form, present invention comprises a sticker having a first layer which has a hinged flap thereon, a top and an opposed bottom. This form further comprises a second layer which has a top side and a bottom side wherein the top side of the second layer and the bottom side of the first layer are adjacent and the bottom side of the second layer includes a layer of adhesive thereon. The second layer further includes a cut-out portion which presents an open cavity when the second layer is moved apart from the first layer and an enclosed cavity when the first and second layers are lying adjacent to one another. The cut-out portion can extend only partially through the second layer or may extend all of the way through the second layer. When the cut-out portion extends completely through the second layer, the receptacle become enclosed when the bottom side of the second layer is positioned against another surface and the top side of the second layer is positioned against the bottom side of the first layer. A DNA-containing object may then be placed in the cavity created by the cut-out portion. This embodiment further includes indicia thereon, preferably on the top side of the first layer. As with all other forms of the invention, the indicia can be printed, embossed, etched, or contained on a medium which is decipherable using the aid of an electronic device. Preferably, the indicia identifies the individual from whom the DNA-containing object was obtained. The indicia may also contain medical information of the individual. In preferred forms, the hinged flap is positioned above the cut-out portion and the first and second layers are attached. Moreover, a releasing agent and/or a sheet of removable backing paper is provided at the hinged portion on the bottom side of the first layer. The invention may further include a sheet of removable backing paper or releasing agent on the bottom side of the second layer so that the adhesive thereon is protected until it is desired to adhere the sticker to a selected surface.
In another embodiment, the invention comprises a first layer of material, a second layer of material having a cut-out portion, and a third layer of material adapted to overlie the cut-out portion. Again, the cut-out portion can extend all of the way through the second layer of material or can merely extend through part of the cut-out portion. When the cut-out portion extends through the second layer, the first layer will function as a bottom wall for the cut-out portion. In this form, the first layer will include a top side adjacent the second layer which functions as the bottom wall and a bottom side which includes a layer of adhesive thereon. When the cut-out portion does not extend through the second layer, the bottom wall will be formed by the material forming the second layer and the sidewalls connecting the bottom wall to the top of the second layer of material will form a receptacle therein. In this form, the first layer may merely comprise a layer of adhesive to which a sheet of removable backing paper can be attached. The size of the cut-out portion will vary depending upon the amount or size of the DNA-containing material which will be stored in the cut-out portion. The third layer of material which overlies the cut-out portion may include adhesive and a sheet of removable backing paper. To use such an embodiment, the third layer of material is peeled back or otherwise removed from its location overlying the cut-out portion, a DNA-containing object is placed within the cut-out portion, and the third layer is then repositioned such that it overlies the cut-out portion. If this third layer includes adhesive or if adhesive is surrounding the cut-out portion, the sheet of removable backing paper is removed and the third layer adhered to the second layer. Indicia can be included on either the top of the third layer of material or in situations where the third layer has a smaller area than the second layer, the indicia can be located on the portion of the second layer surrounding the third layer. Alternatively, the indicia can be located on any visible surface of the invention.
In another embodiment of the present invention, the invention comprises a receptacle for holding a DNA-containing object. This receptacle may comprise a flexible or rigid blister pouch formed of foil, plastic, or the like. The receptacle would have an open end for receiving the DNA-containing object and otherwise be enclosed on all sides. The receptacle could then be attached to a sheet of material and this sheet of material could contain indicia thereon. The receptacle would then be enclosed by a second sheet of material presenting a front side and an opposed back side. The front side would lie adjacent the receptacle open end and the back side would include a layer of adhesive thereon. This layer of adhesive may then be covered by a sheet of removable backing paper. In some forms, the front side of the second sheet may also include a layer of adhesive thereon to facilitate the attachment of the receptacle to the second sheet. In other forms of this embodiment, the receptacle is attached to or integrally formed with another sheet of material and this sheet of material may include indicia on one side of the sheet as well as a layer of adhesive on the side of the sheet opposite the indicia. The receptacle may be contained on a hinged portion of this sheet of material such that the hinged portion could be moved to facilitate the insertion of a DNA-containing object into the receptacle and then moved to be attached to the second sheet of material. Alternatively, the receptacle may comprise a separate body during formation of the invention. Such a receptacle would preferably present a flanged portion adjacent the open end thereof to facilitate attachment to a layer of material. To further secure the receptacle, another sheet of material is provided which includes a cut-out portion for receiving the receptacle therethrough and adhering to the flanged portion of the receptacle. This then provides an embodiment having three layers in addition to the receptacle. The first layer is a sheet of removable backing paper. The second layer is removably attached to the first layer and includes a layer of adhesive on at least one side thereof. The receptacle is then adhered to this second layer preferably at the flanged portion of the receptacle. The third layer is then positioned over the second layer and receptacle such that a cut-out portion of the third layer is directly above the receptacle. The cut-out portion can be of any size but it is preferred that the receptacle fit within the cut-out portion. The third layer is then adhered to the second layer via adhesive which is contained on either the second layer, third layer, or both. The side of the third layer opposite the side adhered to the second layer includes indicia thereon.
In another embodiment of the present invention, a medical alert card is provided. Basically, the medical alert card comprises a card body presenting a first and second layer which are removably attached. The first layer includes indicia presenting medical information or the like thereon and the second layer comprises a core having a receptacle therein. A portion of the first layer overlies the receptacle of the second portion, thereby enclosing the receptacle. The back side of the second layer preferably includes a layer of adhesive thereon which may be protected by a third layer comprising a releasing agent or sheet of removable backing paper or any combination thereof. Indicia may also be included on the second layer, especially if the area of the first layer exceeds the area of the second area. In some forms of this embodiment, the first layer comprises a foil sticker. In other forms, the first and second layers are adhered together via a layer of adhesive contained on at least one of the adjacent faces of the first or second layers. The receptacle is preferably selected from the group consisting of a flexible blister pouch, a rigid blister pouch, and a cut-out portion and is adapted to hold a DNA-containing object therein. Of course, the DNA-containing object and the indicia correspond to the same individual.
Finally, another embodiment of the present invention comprises an individualized medical alert card. The card comprises three layers, the first layer has medical and identifying information thereon, the second layer is a core layer which has a receptacle therein, and the third layer comprises a sheet of removable backing paper and/or a releasing agent. In preferred forms, the first layer presents a front side which includes medical information and a back side which is positioned adjacent the second layer. The second layer also presents a front side and a back side with the front side of the second layer being positioned adjacent and the back side is adjacent the third layer. Preferably, the second layer includes a layer of adhesive thereon, however, the adhesive may be separately applied or may comprise at least a portion of the third layer. Preferably, the receptacle comprises a cut-out portion similar to that previously described. A DNA-containing object obtained from the individual corresponding to the medical and identifying information can then be placed in the receptacle. In some forms, the second layer of this embodiment may be formed of a flexible material (e.g. paper) while in other forms, the second layer may be formed or a more rigid material (e.g. plastic).