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October 13th, 2006
A study by Andre Nel of the University of California, Los Angeles and co-workers now suggests that the hazards are best predicted by examining which nanomaterials cause most oxidative injury within cells.
Our current knowledge of the toxicology of a variety of particles including environmental nanoparticles and various nanoparticles that have been manufactured in bulk for decades (for example, titanium dioxide) shows a clear link between oxidative stress and diseases including cancer, asthma and cardiovascular ailments. We can therefore compare the oxidative stress profiles of well-studied materials with newly engineered nanomaterials and, it is hoped, extrapolate the data to yet newer materials. Furthermore, oxidative stress may be a useful criterion to pinpoint which physical factors are associated with the biological insults. If carefully thought out, such studies could serve as important building blocks towards the development of more-efficient screening strategies for new nanomaterials.
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