Scientific Innovation

The ENM Safety Classifier

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NANOSOLUTIONS Scientific InnovationThe NANOSOLUTIONS consortium, which began in April 2013, was created to provide a means to develop a safety classification system for engineered nanomaterials (ENM) based on an understanding of their interactions with living organisms at molecular, cellular and organism levels.

Many important functions of living organisms take place at the nanoscale. The human body uses natural nanomaterials, such as proteins and other molecules, to control the body’s many systems and processes.

The main objective of NANOSOLUTIONS is to identify and elaborate those characteristics of ENM that determine their biological hazard potential.

This potential includes the ability of ENM to induce damage at the cellular, tissue, or organism levels by interacting with cellular structures leading to impairment of key cellular functions. These adverse effects may be mediated by ENM-induced alterations in gene expression and translation, but may involve also epigenetic transformation of genetic functions.

Detailed experimentation will take place across a number of work packages in order to provide fundamental data that will be used to develop a classification system for nanomaterial safety.

There will be a particular focus on cellular models in order to understand the toxicity of nanomaterials. These effects will also be tested across a wide range of organisms, from microbes to mammals, and on different body systems.

The scientific experimentation will have two main outputs. Firstly, the traditional hazard classification approach will provide both regulators and industry with information in a format they can use now, within the current regulatory process, meaning the experiments will have an immediate impact.

Secondly, the samples from the experiments will be used in the molecular biology and systems biology approaches being used in the Nanosolutions project to provide the information needed for the ENM Safety Classifier.