World Metrology Day is organized jointly by the BIPM (Bureau International des Poids et Mesures) and the OIML (Organisation Internationale de Métrologie Légale).
This day commemorates the signing of the Metre Convention by representatives of 17 countries on May 20, 1875, a treaty which laid the foundations for a worldwide system of measurement.
The theme chosen for 2021 is "Measuring for health", the aim being to raise awareness of the important role played by measurement in this field, and therefore in the well-being of each and every one of us.
All over the world, national metrology institutes are constantly advancing the science of measurement by developing and validating new measurement techniques at the required level of sophistication.
In France, for example, the LNE (Laboratoire national de métrologie et d'essais) and the laboratories of the RNMF (Réseau national de la métrologie française) are working to create confidence through reliable measurements, in both the healthcare and diagnostic fields.
A recent study published in The Lancet, in which LNE participated, showed that around 15 % of heart attack patients had no risk factors. This study underlines the need for biomarkers that can more reliably identify patients at highest risk of developing cardiovascular disease before they do.
This is the question that the CardioMet project, in which LNE is participating, is currently seeking to answer. As the limitations of conventional biomarkers are well established, one of the aims of this project is to study the benefits of a more detailed analysis of lipoproteins, the carriers of cholesterol in the blood. The aim is to improve the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Another example in the context of Alzheimer's disease: currently, the measurement of biomarkers present in cerebrospinal fluid, such as the Tau protein, is a good early indicator of the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease. LNE researchers are therefore working on the development of methods for measuring this protein, to ensure greater comparability of measurements between analysis laboratories, making analyses more reliable for doctors.
In the field of cancer research, LNE is working with CEA on the measurement of gold nanoparticles. These are used in cancer therapy, as drug carriers or radiation amplifiers. The challenge, however, is to optimize their quantity and concentrate them in the right place. LNE has demonstrated the value of the single-particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (sp-ICP-MS) method for quantifying nanoparticles and analyzing their size distribution in cells.
In these times of pandemic, when uncertainties abound, metrology can also provide answers and reliable data on related subjects, such as the effectiveness of protective masks.
LNE and RNMF are also at the service of public authorities, helping them to make decisions that have an impact on the health and safety of all.