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Into the Future with Metrology - The Challenges of Medical Technology

Diagnostics and Therapy

Laboratory values - valuable indicators for diseases

Droplet Digital PCR
Reference measurement methods for the quantification of virus concentration based on Droplet Digital PCR open up new possibilities for the external quality assurance of medical laboratories.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic at the latest, most people have learned how important test results of medical laboratories are in medicine. A large amount of all medical and diagnostic decisions are based on quantitatively analyzing the concentration of diagnostic markers in body fluids. According to the EU's In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices Directive, all control materials in laboratory medicine must be metrologically traceable. PTB therefore organizes international interlaboratory comparisons which ensure the reliability of those measurements. Due to its unique, internationally recognized measurement capabilities, PTB is known as one of the world leaders especially in quantifying proteins in blood serum and in flow cytometric cell counting. In flow cytometry, cells in body fluids such as blood, urine or cerebrospinal fluid are quantitatively analyzed with a high throughput. Hospitals use this on a large scale in hematology, infectiology and immunology as well as in biomedical research. The measurement of mineral salts, i.e. electrolytes, in blood is also of great importance. Some of them are important biomarkers for kidney stones, tumors, osteoporosis, stomach ulcers and other medical conditions. According to the guidelines of the German Medical Association (Bundesärztekammer), traceable measuring methods are required for the quality assurance of laboratory-medical measurements of the electrolytes of lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and chloride. These measurements are provided by PTB. The same applies to a series of organic biomarkers (e.g. the amount-of-substance concentrations of creatinine, which is a laboratory parameter for kidney function). The rapid progress in biomedicine and biochemistry has brought about many new approaches and improved methods for medical diagnosis and therapy, while the development of reliable measurement technology has not always kept pace. This will be an important future task for PTB, especially in the field of measurement methods for proteins, cells and nucleic acids (DNA, RNA). PTB is taking account of the international diversity of the market, legislation and research: Together with nine other European institutes, it has joined forces under the umbrella of EURAMET – the association for the national metrology institutes in Europe – to form a research network: the "European Metrology Network (EMN) for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine".



Departments involved
Opens internal link in current window3.1 General and Inorganic Chemistry

Opens internal link in current window3.2 Biochemistry

Opens internal link in current window8.3 Biomedical Optics