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

CubeSat Structures Competition Opens Space Design to Students of the World December 16th, 2017

Record high photoconductivity for new metal-organic framework material December 15th, 2017

Error-free into the quantum computer age December 15th, 2017

Leti Will Demonstrate First 3D Anti-Crash Solution for Embedding in Drones: Fitted on a Mass-Market Microcontroller, 360Fusion Software Technology Detects any Dynamic Obstacle and Helps Guide Drones Away from Collisions December 15th, 2017

Preparing for Nano

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

Durnham University's DEEPEN project comes to a close September 26th, 2012

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Synthetic protein packages its own genetic material and evolves computationally designed protein assemblies are advancing research in synthetic life and in targeted drug delivery December 15th, 2017

Sandia researchers make solid ground toward better lithium-ion battery interfaces: Reducing the traffic jam in batteries December 13th, 2017

Perking up and crimping the 'bristles' of polyelectrolyte brushes December 13th, 2017

Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure: Researchers are the first to observe the electronic structure of graphene in an engineered semiconductor; finding could lead to progress in advanced optoelectronics and data processing December 13th, 2017

Academic/Education

Luleň University of Technology is using the Deben CT5000TEC stage to perform x-ray microtomography experiments with the ZEISS Xradia 510 Versa to understand deformation and strain inside inhomogeneous materials November 7th, 2017

Park Systems Announces the Grand Opening of the Park NanoScience Center at SUNY Polytechnic Institute November 3rd, 2017

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

Moving at the Speed of Light: University of Arizona selected for high-impact, industrial demonstration of new integrated photonic cryogenic datalink for focal plane arrays: Program is major milestone for AIM Photonics August 10th, 2017

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods

Scientists make transparent materials absorb light December 1st, 2017

Researchers advance technique to detect ovarian cancer: Rice, MD Anderson use fluorescent carbon nanotube probes to achieve first in vivo success November 30th, 2017

NanoSummit in Luxembourg: single wall carbon nanotubes have entered our lives as we approach a nanoaugmented future November 23rd, 2017

Fine felted nanotubes : Research team of Kiel University develops new composite material made of carbon nanotubes November 22nd, 2017

Materials/Metamaterials

Record high photoconductivity for new metal-organic framework material December 15th, 2017

A new product to help combat mouldy walls, thanks to technology developed at the ICN2 December 14th, 2017

Creating a new kind of metallic glass December 7th, 2017

Copper will replace toxic palladium and expensive platinum in the synthesis of medications: The effectiveness of copper nanoparticles as a catalyst has been proven December 5th, 2017

Announcements

CubeSat Structures Competition Opens Space Design to Students of the World December 16th, 2017

Record high photoconductivity for new metal-organic framework material December 15th, 2017

Error-free into the quantum computer age December 15th, 2017

Leti Will Demonstrate First 3D Anti-Crash Solution for Embedding in Drones: Fitted on a Mass-Market Microcontroller, 360Fusion Software Technology Detects any Dynamic Obstacle and Helps Guide Drones Away from Collisions December 15th, 2017

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

How harmful are nano-copper and anti-fungal combinations in the waterways? October 27th, 2017

Do titanium dioxide particles from orthopedic implants disrupt bone repair? September 16th, 2017

Tests show no nanotubes released during utilisation of nanoaugmented materials June 9th, 2017

NanoMONITOR shares its latest developments concerning the NanoMONITOR Software and the Monitoring stations April 21st, 2017

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project