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International standardisation

Providing leadership in international metrology activities in the emerging area of biometrology

We are actively involved in supporting international metrology and standardisation through inter-comparison studies and CCQM bioanalysis working groups. Critical evaluation of inter-laboratory work enables global comparison of cell measurements through reference measurement systems of the highest metrological order with traceability to the SI. We participate in and lead international inter-comparison studies on cell analysis in collaboration with national measurement institutes across the world. For example, one study addresses a major measurement challenge in cell therapy and regenerative medicine – the quantification of proliferating stem cells (CCQM-P197). Our aim is to provide the number of stem cells in their proliferative state per unit area (2D) and a number per unit volume (3D) in a follow-up key comparison. The study makes use of biocompatible scaffolds, without which the retention of pluripotency and stable replication of stem cells cannot be achieved.

Our complementary activities include inter-comparison projects for the validation of biological products, materials and services via Versailles Project on Advanced Materials and Standards, which provides leadership in international standardisation activities to support the uptake of research by industry. Synthetic Biomaterials is a new area which NPL chairs and which serves as a pre-standardisation vehicle to validate synthetic materials of biomolecular origin to common specifications. This is the first technical area in metrology and standardisation dedicated specifically to addressing the issues of reproducibility in biologically relevant materials and methods. The area hosts participants from over 20 countries, with the number of inter-comparison projects steadily increasing.

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