Laura S. Marshall, email@example.com
WASHINGTON – A past president of the Optical Society of America (OSA) recently called
on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to provide greater
support for the health care industry by developing standards and expanding its own
research efforts in the biosciences.
“Translating the tremendous advances in quantitative biology
instrumentation into effective diagnostic tests will require developing standard
reference materials, reproducible consensus protocols and understanding the basic
measurement science underlying these new quantitative biomedical instruments,”
said Thomas M. Baer, executive director of the Stanford Photonics Research Center
and 2009 OSA president, testifying before the House Science and Technology Subcommittee
on Technology and Innovation.
“Much of this work has yet to be done, and lack of this
standards framework is impeding the translation of these new technologies into medical
practice, affecting the lives of many critically ill US citizens who could benefit
from accelerated introduction of these breakthrough technologies,” Baer said.
“NIST can play a pivotal role in accelerating deployment of these remarkable
new instruments and procedures.”
Baer called on NIST to help the biomedical community in a variety
of ways, including by developing standards and consistent protocols for diagnostic
medicine, as well as advancing measurement science by applying quantitative molecular
analysis technology to diagnostic tests; by supporting the latest quantitative imaging
instruments; and by encouraging improved understanding of the technology needed
to perform the measurements necessary to provide accurate assessment of the safety
and efficacy of new drugs. Taking these measures would provide a sound basis for
measurement science in the area of neuroscience and neuromedicine.
The hearing was titled “How Can NIST Better Serve the Needs
of the Biomedical Research Community in the 21st Century?” and was part of
a series created to examine possible ways to redesign the US government’s
science and technology agencies when the America COMPETES Act is reauthorized. This
legislation, signed into law in 2007, is designed to enhance the country’s
economic competitiveness through science and technical research and education.
The subcommittee is looking at ways to structure NIST biomedical
research to reach specific goals, such as growing the agency’s technical expertise
and outreach efforts via collaborations with private industry, academic institutions
and nonprofits. Another goal is to develop methods for NIST to obtain effective
and targeted input and feedback from sources such as academia, industry and nonprofits.
Baer also is a member of the NIST Visiting Committee for Advanced
Technology and has served on the National Research Council review panels for both
the Physics and Chemical Science and Technology Laboratories.