Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Evaluating the toxicity of nanoparticles used in medical diagnostics

Scientists developed alternative testing strategies to assess the nanotoxicity of materials used in medical diagnostics. Enhanced understanding of the cellular mechanisms of toxicity will also support informed legislation and regulation.
Evaluating the toxicity of nanoparticles used in medical diagnostics
Nanoparticles (NPs), tiny materials on the scale of atoms and molecules, have become ubiquitous as more and more components and devices incorporate novel nanomaterials. Numerous projects have addressed or are addressing the effects of NPs on biological systems and, in particular, occupational safety in manufacturing industries. The EU-funded project NANOTEST focused on NPs used in medical diagnostics with the concurrent goal of further detailing the effects of NPs on biological systems.

The consortium of experts from multidisciplinary fields studied the interactions of six representative therapeutic nanomaterials on eight selected target tissues and organs. Scientists characterised the NPs and collected new information regarding uptake, transport kinetics and toxicity endpoints. In line with the three R's (refine, reduce and replace), they delivered alternative high-throughput testing strategies based on in vitro and in silico (computer) methods. The battery of assays enabled the development of suitable biomarkers for each organ. In addition they helped identify issues that may impede NP detection and/or assessment of their effects on biological tissues. Furthermore, research highlighted the effects of agglomeration and aggregation of NPs on toxicity outcomes.

Knowledge gained on NPs effects on cells, organs, animals and blood will help develop legislation and regulations for safe production, use and disposal of NPs. The NANOTEST database contains information on NPs from various projects addressing NP toxicity. It will be included in NanoHUB, an information platform of nano-specific information and methodology, for further metadata analysis by the scientific community and policymakers.

NANOTEST made an important contribution to the understanding of the effects of selected NPs on target tissues and organs and the underlying cellular mechanisms. Standardised in vitro and in silico testing procedures to assess toxicity will reduce animal testing while increasing the speed and accuracy. While nanotoxicology is a new field, its foundations have been strengthened and will better support additions in the future.

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top