A lack of accepted standards and standardized phantoms suitable for the technical validation of biophotonic instrumentation hinders the reliability and reproducibility of its experimental outputs. In this Perspective, we discuss general criteria for the design of tissue-mimicking biophotonic phantoms, and use these criteria and state-of-the-art developments to critically review the literature on phantom materials and on the fabrication of phantoms. By focusing on representative examples of standardization in diffuse optical imaging and spectroscopy, fluorescence-guided surgery and photoacoustic imaging, we identify unmet needs in the development of phantoms and a set of criteria (leveraging characterization, collaboration, communication and commitment) for the standardization of biophotonic instrumentation.
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We thank W. C. Vogt for helpful advice on performance testing of medical-imaging devices. L.H. was funded by the MedAccel programme of NPL, financed by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. S.E.B. is funded by Cancer Research UK under grant numbers C47594/A16267 and C9545/A29580.
S.E.B. has received research support from iThera Medical GmbH and PreXion Corporation, the photoacoustic imaging division of which was later acquired by CYBERDYNE Inc; both companies are vendors of photoacoustic imaging instruments. B.W.P. is financially involved as co-founder and president of DoseOptics, LLC, which develops Cherenkov imaging in radiation therapy, and QUEL Imaging, LLC, which develops fluorescence-imaging tools for surgery and photodynamic therapy. A.P. is a co-founder of PIONIRS srl, which develops time-domain tissue oximeters. The mention of commercial products, their sources or their use in connection with material reported in this Perspective is not to be construed as either an actual or implied endorsement of such products by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. This Perspective reflects the views of the authors and should not be construed to represent views or policies of the United States Food and Drug Administration.
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Hacker, L., Wabnitz, H., Pifferi, A. et al. Criteria for the design of tissue-mimicking phantoms for the standardization of biophotonic instrumentation. Nat. Biomed. Eng 6, 541–558 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41551-022-00890-6
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