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  • Shareen Doak

International Project Aims to Bring Nanotech Potential Closer

Jul 20 2017 Read 921 Times

The European Commission has approved an international collaborative grant, expected to be in excess of €12million, to Scientists at Swansea University Medical School who will lead the development of tests to prevent the use of animals when assessing safety concerns surrounding nanotechnology – a field with potential to enhance crucial aspects of our lives pending proper investigation into associated risks.

Awarded as part of the Horizon2020 scheme, the project, Physiologically Anchored Tools for Realistic nanOmateriaL hazard aSsessment (PATROLS), involves a total of 26 partners spread across 14 countries through Europe and across the globe including Canada, Japan, Korea and the US.

Project lead Shareen Doak, Professor of Genotoxicology & Cancer at the Swansea University Medical School explained: “Nanotechnology promises significant scientific, economic and societal benefits, but commercialisation and growth are threatened by safety uncertainties. Several problems currently exist in the field of nanosafety testing: standard non-animal tests are unreliable for nanomaterials, so there is a greater emphasis on evaluating their safety in animals. However animal tests are also unsuitable as they are expensive, time-consuming, and are associated with substantial moral concerns. Additionally, these tests do not predict the consequences of long term exposure on both human health and the environment.

“PATROLS will address these limitations by providing state-of-the-art 3D culture models of the human lung, gastrointestinal tract and liver. The project will also deliver advanced testing methods for environmental safety testing and robust computational models that will allow us to more accurately predict human health and environmental safety based on data generated in cell culture, removing the need to test on animals. Exposure under realistic conditions (low concentrations over extended periods of time) will be applied to human cell culture to understand the true risk associated with nanomaterials in consumer products.

The PATROLS project is scheduled to commence in autumn 2017 and will run for 3.5 years.

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