Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > New study shows possibilities and dangers of nanotechnology

Los Alamos National Laboratory toxicologist Jun Gao, a co-author in the study, works in his laboratory. Courtesy of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Los Alamos National Laboratory toxicologist Jun Gao, a co-author in the study, works in his laboratory. Courtesy of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Abstract:
A tiny change in a tiny particle can mean the difference between treatment and toxicity, federal researchers found in the first observations of its kind.

By Elizabeth Bahm

New study shows possibilities and dangers of nanotechnology

Chicago, IL | Posted on April 12th, 2010

Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico originally set out to study the interactions of carbon fullerenes - soccer-ball shaped molecules more commonly known as "buckyballs" - and cell membranes, said Rashi Iyer, a toxicologist at Los Alamos and principal research lead on the study, which was recently published in the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. As research progressed, she said that she and her colleagues began to observe an unexpected reaction that could either be dangerous or desirable.

Researchers found that exposure to a certain type of fullerene known as the "tris" configuration, referring to a certain configuration of molecular branches on the nanoparticle, produced a toxic reaction in human tissue.

Iyer said that cells from skin and lungs were among those studied, since those would be likely points of exposure to nanoparticles. Cells exposed to the tris fullerenes went into a state that could be described as suspended animation, she said. Cells' normal life cycle halted, meaning that they stopped growing, dividing and dying.

Typically, this effect would pose a risk to human organs by inhibiting normal development or immune responses. The same effect could also delay the onset of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or prevent the spread of cancerous cells, giving doctors more time to treat abnormal cells, said the press release.

Iyer noted that the discovery of the senescence effect highlighted the importance of identifying health risks as nanoscience continues to develop. Studies like this can "guide material science," she said, demonstrating, in this case, that application matters when dealing with particles that may have a toxic potential. In a targeted scenario, this particle could lead to new medical treatments. If it had been inadvertently employed in a commercial product, there could be a health crisis.

Currently, nanomaterials face few federal regulations. Lynn Bergeson, a Washington, D.C. lawyer who counsels companies on nanotechnology innovation, said that it is a misconception that there are no regulations - while no laws address nanotechnology alone, many nanomaterials do fall under broader rules such as sections of the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Substances Control Act. "The EPA is doing a ton of work on nanoscale materials," said Bergeson, and there are several new rules on the horizon.

Iyer said that she thinks that regulations have been slow to appear because agencies "don't want to press the panic button" on a growing field with the potential to address many day-to-day problems.

"[Nanomaterials] need to be exploited for what they can offer us," said Iyer, "but we need to be cautious."

To that end, she said that her future research will entail efforts to broadly classify nanomaterials and assess their risks. With researchers in 40 countries creating new nanoparticles every day, she said that it would be difficult to assess each particle individually. By using physical and chemical characteristics to classify particles, scientists will be able to better predict responses to particles and the effects of modifying them.

Bergeson said that regulatory agencies face "a steep learning curve" in assessing the risks and benefits of nanotechnology. "The EPA is doing, I think, a very good job in obtaining information," she said, adding that there is a "steady increase in the sophistication and work devoted by regulatory agencies" to nanomaterials.

Establishing standards, said Iyer, "should be the universal effort" in nanomaterials research.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Chicago Newsroom
105 W. Adams St., Suite 200 Chicago, IL 60603

News Desk
(312) 503-4100
(312) 503-4200
(312) 503-4040 (Fax)

Copyright © Northwestern University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

NUS researchers develop stretchable, self-healing and illuminating material for ‘invincible’ light-emitting devices: Promising applications include damage-proof flexible display screens and illuminating electronic skin for autonomous soft robots May 31st, 2020

The concept of creating «brain-on-chip» revealed: A team of scientists is working to create brain-like memristive systems providing the highest degree of adaptability for implementing compact and efficient neural interfaces, new-generation robotics, artificial intelligence, perso May 29th, 2020

SUTD developed a simple method to print planar microstructures of polysiloxane: The new method, embedded ink writing (EIW), enables direct writing of polysiloxane which helps in the fabrication of microfluidic devices, flexible wearables, and soft actuators May 29th, 2020

Researchers develop experimental rapid COVID-19 test using nanoparticle technique: Advanced nanotechnology provides 'naked eye' visual detection of virus in 10 minutes May 29th, 2020

Preparing for Nano

Disruptive by Design: Nano Now February 1st, 2019

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years: Targeted medicine deliveries and increased energy efficiency are just two of many ways October 26th, 2016

Searching for a nanotech self-organizing principle May 1st, 2016

Nanotechnology is changing everything from medicine to self-healing buildings: Nanotechnology is so small it's measured in billionths of metres, and it is revolutionising every aspect of our lives April 2nd, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Argonne researchers create active material out of microscopic spinning particles May 29th, 2020

Study finds electrical fields can throw a curveball: Particle-scale phenomenon akin to the swerving of a curveball could allow selective separation of suspended nanomaterials May 26th, 2020

Scientists use light to accelerate supercurrents, access forbidden light, quantum world May 21st, 2020

Electrons break rotational symmetry in exotic low-temp superconductor: Scientists previously observed this peculiar behavior in other materials whose ability to conduct electricity without energy loss cannot be explained by standard theoretical frameworks May 19th, 2020

Academic/Education

Matching Investment Program (MIP) Leverages $140K Empire State Development/NYSTAR Funding to SUNY Poly’s CATN2 to Enable $1.5M in Matching Commitments from Industry Partners: Investment Funds Faculty Research Related to Advanced Materials, Genomics, and Semiconductor Reliability October 18th, 2019

A Quantum Leap: $25M grant makes UC Santa Barbara home to the nation’s first NSF-funded Quantum Foundry, a center for development of materials for quantum information-based technologies September 16th, 2019

LPU signs MoU with Bruker India for Research Cooperation in Nanotechnology and Material Science September 3rd, 2019

RIT to upgrade Semiconductor and Microsystems Fabrication Laboratory through $1 million state grant: Upgrades to clean room will enhance university’s research capabilities in photonics, quantum technologies and smart systems August 16th, 2019

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods

Oil & gas and automotive sectors will benefit from durable polymers with graphene nanotubes May 14th, 2020

OCSiAl becomes the largest European supplier of single wall carbon nanotubes with its upgraded REACH registration April 23rd, 2020

Double-walled nanotubes have electro-optical advantages :Rice University calculations show they could be highly useful for solar panels March 27th, 2020

Groovy key to nanotubes in 2D: Why do carbon nanotubes line up? They're in a groove March 16th, 2020

Materials/Metamaterials

An EPiQS Pursuit: Physicist Andrea Young is chosen to receive an Experimental Investigator award from the Moore Foundation May 28th, 2020

Study finds electrical fields can throw a curveball: Particle-scale phenomenon akin to the swerving of a curveball could allow selective separation of suspended nanomaterials May 26th, 2020

Researchers review advances in 3D printing of high-entropy alloys: SUTD collaborates with universities in Singapore and China to shine light on HEA manufacturing processes and inspire further research in this emerging field May 22nd, 2020

Researchers demonstrate transport of mechanical energy, even through damaged pathways: Topological pump can provide stability for communication technologies May 22nd, 2020

Announcements

NUS researchers develop stretchable, self-healing and illuminating material for ‘invincible’ light-emitting devices: Promising applications include damage-proof flexible display screens and illuminating electronic skin for autonomous soft robots May 31st, 2020

Configurable circuit technology poised to expand silicon photonic applications: Chips can be programmed after fabrication for use in communication, computing or biomedical applications May 29th, 2020

SUTD developed a simple method to print planar microstructures of polysiloxane: The new method, embedded ink writing (EIW), enables direct writing of polysiloxane which helps in the fabrication of microfluidic devices, flexible wearables, and soft actuators May 29th, 2020

Researchers develop experimental rapid COVID-19 test using nanoparticle technique: Advanced nanotechnology provides 'naked eye' visual detection of virus in 10 minutes May 29th, 2020

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

Study: Nanoparticles produced from burning coal result in damage to mice lungs, suggesting toxicity to humans February 5th, 2020

NIOSH requests data to help develop exposure limits for nanomaterials February 1st, 2020

Nanoparticles may have bigger impact on the environment than previously thought: Non-antibacterial nanoparticles can cause resistance in bacteria October 17th, 2019

Plastic waste disintegrates into nanoparticles, study finds December 28th, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project