Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate many life functions, and deviations from normal levels can indicate serious health problems. Measurement of levels of steroid and/or thyroid hormones in serum can be beneficial in diagnosing and monitoring a number of diseases. Routine clinical tests for hormones are generally immunoassay-based, and intercomparison studies have revealed problems in precision, accuracy, and specificity for some of these assays, particularly at low hormone concentrations. NIST has developed reference measurement procedures and reference materials to address the need for improved accuracy of routine clinical assays for hormones, and to ensure that timely and effective treatment decisions are made.
Steroid hormones and thyroid hormones serve an essential function by regulating gene transcription. Improving the accuracy of clinical assays for hormones will improve diagnoses and result in earlier treatments. Therefore, reference methods for the measurement of steroid and thyroid hormones have been developed at NIST and Standard Reference Materials 971a, Hormones in Frozen Human Serum, and 1949, Frozen Human Prenatal Serum, will help provide higher-order reference systems for traceability.
A Standard Reference Material for thyroid hormones and related proteins in the serum of reproductive age women and women in each trimester of pregnancy has been developed (SRM 1949)
A collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been formed to continually add new steroids and hormone related analytes to these materials