National Physical Laboratory

Healthcare sector


NPL's healthcare research focuses across diagnostics, medical physics and health and wellbeing where measurement plays a vital role in ensuring reliable andĀ robust detection diagnosis and treatment. As diagnosis of disease, long-term patient care and wellness monitoring changes to a personalised approach, therapies and technologies for diagnosis and treatment need more reliable, safeĀ and cost-effective accurate measurements.

How Can NPL Help?

  • Characterisation for drug development - The size and complexity of biomolecules mean their activities, distributions, compositions and structures are subject to change with their environment and vary as a function of time. Such changes may contribute to disease or be linked to the reduced efficacy of therapeutics or bio detection methods. NPL is developing novel approaches for biomolecular metrology to support the healthcare industry. We provide a comprehensive answer to structure-activity relationships with a long-term aim of elucidating the biomolecular origin of disease which can aid in the development of new, more targeted therapeutics.
  • Improving point of care technologies - Point of Care (POC) technologies require simple, inexpensive, reliable, quantitative measures to be made at the same standard as central laboratories, while at the patient's side. POC technology brings new challenges to the clinical environment, such as robustness of results, complex data management and the ability to truly diagnose at the patient's side in much faster times than currently possible. NPL assesses and develops different POC testing approaches to help eliminate their uncertainty and accelerate their uptake within clinical practice.
  • Improved cancer therapies - As the development of treatment therapies using both radiation dosimetry and ultrasound are developed to allow for more targeted treatment, the need to develop more robust measurement and testing requirements around these technologies is critical. NPL's expertise in medical physics for both radiation and acoustic based therapies will ensure companies and practitioners can develop safe and effective treatment plans that bring more rapid treatments and reduce patient side effects. NPL partners with companies to ensure that their products meet the required testing and safety standards for their introduction into the healthcare system.
  • Biophysical characterisation - Our biotechnology team can work with Bioscience and pharmaceutical companies to develop a measurement base infrastructure for biological measurements, including a wide range of physico-chemical techniques such as circular dichroism, surface plasmon resonance, ELISA and mass spectrometries. NPL's Biotechnology teams expertise underpinned by measurement are well placed to work with you to improve the importance of measurement techniques as the awareness of the need for comparability and traceability for product conformance, quality control and regulatory compliance in the healthcare sector increases.
  • Novel analytical techniques - NPL's is internationally leading in the science base for the characterisation of nanoscale chemical and physical properties of materials on atomic and molecular length scales including a wide range of techniques. We are pioneering new analytical methods based on scanning probe and near-field optics to characterise surface chemical properties at the highest resolution. We are pioneering new analytical methods for surface and interfacial chemistries that can be used in area such as nanotechnologies, medical devices, drug delivery and personal care applications to help improve and further understand product performance.
  • Radiation dosimetry - In healthcare applications, the use of radioactivity and radiation in diagnosis and therapy is developing rapidly. The impact of these procedures on patients has to be predicted and a clear balance established between clinical result and the potential for harm. NPL is at the forefront of developing measurement techniques for new applications and ensuring the quality of current approaches.
  • Sensor development and validation - NPL's combined knowledge of how to develop sensors with health applications along with our understanding of how measurement plays a key role in the robustness and reliability of the measurement they are making can add great value to the development of medical devices. NPL has worked on the development and characterisation of a range of biological sensors for use in both diagnostic and well being environments with experience that we can easily translate into assist companies in the development and validation of their own sensors.
  • Acoustics in health - NPL works with both companies producing medical equipment along with hospitals and clinics, where the requirement is to measure the ultrasonic energy produced by medical therapeutic and diagnostic equipment involved with physiotherapy and cancer treatment to ensure safe treatment of patients. We can also work with medical ultrasound equipment manufacturers, where compliance with international and national safety-related standards must be demonstrated.

Accurate measurement and optimised detection methods right from start of the research and development process ensure you make informed decisions, get useable results faster and with greater confidence.

NPL's multi-disciplined approach to research allows us to bring together a range of expertise covering areas including biotechnology and nanoanalysis to biomaterials and biophotonics for working with industry to solve challenging research issues that can help improve understanding of product efficacy and development times.

For more information, please contact Richard Booth

Alongside our analytical expertise in Healthcare, NPL's role within the industry has seen the installation of a state-of the-art Clinical Linac facility to support radiation dosimetry for cancer therapy, to the development of standards for the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry for Enzyme Linked Immunoassays (ELISA). NPL also carries out research and development in the areas of Regenerative Medicines, Medical Devices, Diagnostic Assay Development, Personal Care, Acoustics and Ultrasound.

Measurement for use in healthcare brings more reliable and efficient exploitation of diagnostic and therapeutic techniques and the development of new technologies. As the diagnosis of disease and long-term patient care moves from the clinical setting to the patients' bedside or home environment the need for understand and developing accurate measurements for health based applications has become increasingly important for delivering the safe and cost effective patient care in timeframes required.

Challenge Driven, Solution Focused

Our expertise and innovation eliminates the need for specialist in-house resources, reduces technical risk and can deliver revenue, cost and time savings for complex technical challenges. For over 110 years we have solved real world government and business problems and today this is applied to global customer requests from a range of markets. NPL solutions are delivered in world-class research facilities using the outputs from significant research programmes supported by government and have been shown to be world-leading in over 80% of science areas.

Customers have access to over 500 multi-disciplinary scientists, along with an extensive national and international network of partners. Our collaboration network of other science organisations, industry, academia and international laboratories prove invaluable to deliver the requirements of our customers who range from government departments, start-ups to large global multinational corporations.

NPL is working with the healthcare sector by developing solutions driven by your challenges through the application of cutting edge measurement that meets our customer's needs.

Our capability includes:

Diagnostic assay design, development and validation

Imaging technologies for early and late stage clinical investigations

Clinical dosimetry calibration, monitoring and training

Surface and nanoanalysis at macro and nano scale for sensors

Sound in air and ultrasound calibration and testing for healthcare

Development and characterisation of biomaterials

Training and skills development

Working with business and industry, NPL's Research and Development programmes focus on identifying and addressing customer needs, ensuring our expertise and knowledge is always relevant and easily applied by our partners.

For more information, please contact Richard Booth


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