Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Combined Forces Of Physics And Medicine To Investigate Hidden Toxity

27.10.2005


A physicist and a medical researcher at the University of Leicester have received a grant of £100,000 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to look at possible toxic damage from inhaled nanoparticles used for a range of everyday purposes.



The small size of nanoparticles in the size range 5-100 nm gives many novel and useful properties and they are used in applications as diverse as face creams, plastics, medical imaging, novel drug therapies and magnetic recording. Such particles are increasingly manufactured and released into the environment on industrial scales.

However, there is growing concern that the very same properties that make them so useful may also lead to enhanced toxicity if the particles are breathed in. The particles are so small - 100,000 particles laid end-to-end would only stretch a few millimetres - that it is not clear how the body’s normal defence mechanisms will cope with them.


By harnessing their combined expertise in physics and medicine, Dr Paul Howes, Department of Physics & Astronomy, and Dr Jonathan Grigg, Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, will research possible toxic damage from inhaled nanoparticles.

Dr Howes and Dr Grigg will produce macrophages from human blood monocytes and expose them, in vitro, to an aerosol of metal nanoparticles, measuring any toxic damage to their DNA. Precise control over the size, chemical composition and dose of particles with enable them to determine whether there is a correlation between size and toxicity. The potential for genotoxicity (and therefore increased vulnerability to lung cancer) is an important factor when setting national air quality guidelines for particles. It is envisaged that this exposure technique, which more closely mimics "real life" exposure, will allow genotoxicity to be assessed for a wide range of manufactured nanoparticles.

Monocyte-derived macrophages were chosen since airway macrophages are a part of the body’s immune system and normally reside deep in the lungs where they form the first line of defence against inhaled particles.

Dr Howes commented: "I am excited at the potential of this collaborative research that will enable us to study the crucially important question of nanoparticle toxicology. The new aerosol spectrometer purchase from the grant, combined with the University’s existing microscopy facility, will give us unique ability to characterise and control the aerosol to answer fundamental questions about the interaction of nanoparticles with the human immune system."

Dr Grigg said: "This research may have profound implications for nanotechnology, if exposure of lung cells to low levels of highly reactive particles induces significant genotoxicity."

Alex Jelley | alfa
Further information:
http://ebulletin.le.ac.uk/news/press-releases/2000-2009/2005/10/nparticle-ymy-79f-3fd
http://www.le.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New research identifies how 3-D printed metals can be both strong and ductile
11.12.2017 | University of Birmingham

nachricht Three kinds of information from a single X-ray measurement
11.12.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

Large-scale battery storage system in field trial

11.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>