Pesquisar este blog

Translate

terça-feira, 28 de janeiro de 2014

Lungs may suffer when certain elements go nano

Nanoparticles are used in all kinds of applications -- electronics, medicine, cosmetics, even environmental clean-ups. More than 2,800 commercially available applications are now based on nanoparticles, and by 2017, the field is expected to bring in nearly $50 billion worldwide.

But this influx of nanotechnology is not without risks, say researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

"There is an urgent need to investigate the potential impact of nanoparticles on health and the environment," says Yue-Wern Huang, professor of biological sciences at Missouri S&T.

Huang and his colleagues have been systematically studying the effects of transition metal oxide nanoparticles on human lung cells. These nanoparticles are used extensively in optical and recording devices, water purification systems, cosmetics and skin care products, and targeted drug delivery, among other applications.

"In their typical coarse powder form, the toxicity of these substances is not dramatic," says Huang. "But as nanoparticles with diameters of only 16-80 nanometers, the situation changes significantly."


The researchers exposed both healthy and cancerous human lung cells to nanoparticles composed of titanium, chromium, manganese, iron, nickel, copper and zinc compounds -- transition metal oxides that are on the fourth row of the periodic table. The researchers discovered that the nanoparticles' toxicity to the cells, or cytotoxicity, increased as they moved right on the periodic table.

"About 80 percent of the cells died in the presence of nanoparticles of copper oxide and zinc oxide," says Huang. "These nanoparticles penetrated the cells and destroyed their membranes. The toxic effects are related to the nanoparticles' surface electrical charge and available docking sites."

Huang says that certain nanoparticles released metal ions -- called ion dissolution -- which also played a significant role in cell death.

Huang is now working on new research that may help reduce nanoparticles' toxicity and shed light on how nanoparticles interact with cells.

"We are coating toxic zinc oxide nanoparticles with non-toxic nanoparticles to see if zinc oxide's toxicity can be reduced," Huang says. "We hope this can mitigate toxicity without compromising zinc oxide's intended applications. We're also investigating whether nanoparticles inhibit cell division and influence cell cycle."

The researchers' findings, "Cytotoxicity in the age of nano: The role of fourth period transition metal oxide nanoparticle physicochemical properties," were published in the Nov. 25, 2013, issue of the journal Chemico-Biological Interactions.



Fonte: ScienceDaily

Nanoparticules synthétiques: Une nouvelle liste des risques pour la santé et la sécurité

Les nanotechnologies se développent rapidement, mais les impacts au regard de la santé et de la sécurité des travailleurs ne sont pas toujours tous évalués. Pour pallier cette situation, des chercheurs ont dressé une liste détaillée des risques que représentent les nanoparticules synthétiques pour les travailleurs. Pour ce faire, ils ont d’abord réalisé une revue exhaustive des articles scientifiques publiés à ce sujet entre 2001 et 2011. Ensuite, ils ont recensé, catégorisé et hiérarchisé les facteurs de risques. Trente-quatre facteurs de risques ont été identifiés en lien avec la santé et la sécurité au travail et classifiés selon qu’ils faisaient partie d’un facteur de danger, d’un paramètre lié à l’exposition ou d’un effet sur la santé ou la sécurité.

Adicionar legenda

Des incertitudes
« En recourant uniquement à une revue de la littérature, il demeure encore trop d’incertitudes et celles-ci limitent les comparaisons et les liens existant entre certaines catégories de risques. Huit grands groupes de risques ont tout de même pu être identifiés dans la littérature et représentés sous la forme d’un réseau hiérarchisé des risques. Il apparaît que de nouvelles méthodes d’évaluation et de gestion des risques sont requises, mais entre-temps cette première hiérarchisation permettra, par son approfondissement, de mieux prioriser les risques associés aux nanoparticules synthétiques. Ce travail pourrait servir de base au développement d’un outil d’aide à la décision », explique l’associé de recherche, Julien Fatisson de l’École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), auteur principal de cette étude originale financée par l’Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST) par le biais du Réseau  Ne3LS.
Cette liste détaillée des risques pour la santé et la sécurité est destinée aux producteurs de nanoparticules synthétiques et aux intervenants en prévention au travail. Elle peut être consultée gratuitement au http://www.irsst.qc.ca/-publication-irsst-nanoparticules-synthetiques-r-798.html

Résumé

De plus en plus les nanotechnologies suscitent un grand intérêt autant sur le plan industriel que médical. Cependant, la production de nanoparticules synthétiques (NPS) continue de croître alors que les impacts sanitaires et environnementaux n’ont pas tous été évalués, amenant ainsi de nouveaux problèmes. Consécutivement à l’expansion du marché des nanotechnologies, le nombre de travailleurs exposés continue d’augmenter. Bien qu’aucun consensus mondial ne se dégage en ce qui a trait à une définition et une règlementation clairement adaptées aux NPS, le besoin de protéger les travailleurs reste capital et passe par une gestion des risques adaptée.

Depuis 10 ans, la science explore les nombreuses propriétés des NPS, mais de multiples incertitudes persistent. Elles portent sur les facteurs de risque les plus susceptibles de causer un effet néfaste sur la santé humaine, ainsi que sur les mécanismes menant à une détérioration de la santé et de la sécurité humaine à la suite d’une exposition à ces NPS. Les connaissances sur les risques (exposition, toxicité, incendie, explosion, etc.) évoluent à un rythme effréné. 

Elles découlent d’approches méthodologiques et s’appliquent à des nanoparticules provenant de différentes sources (celluloses, fullerènes, métaux et oxydes de métaux, etc.). De ce fait, la comparaison des résultats et des études devient ardue. 
De plus, il n’existe actuellement aucune procédure de mesure standardisée pour la caractérisation des nanoparticules même si certaines équipes de recherche travaillent pour atteindre cet objectif.

Par ailleurs, la mise en marché des NPS précède souvent les études toxicologiques appropriées, ce qui en inquiète plus d’un. Cette situation donne plus de poids aux recommandations relatives au développement de stratégies de gestion des risques en parallèle de la recherche et du développement desdites particules. Plusieurs souhaitent une stratégie de gestion des risques adaptative qui évolue avec l’avancement des connaissances et qui inclut une communication transparente au regard des incertitudes qui demeurent. 

Dans ce contexte, l’objectif ultime de ce projet était de construire le prototype d’un outil d’aide à la décision en matière de gestion des risques pour la santé et la sécurité des travailleurs posés par les NPS. Mais avant de pouvoir développer un outil de gestion des risques adapté aux NPS, il était nécessaire de réaliser une revue exhaustive des articles scientifiques publiés entre 2001 et 2011. Ce rapport a donc été construit de façon à dresser une liste détaillée des risques associés aux NPS dans un cadre de santé et de sécurité du travail (SST). Ces risques ont par la suite  été catégorisés et hiérarchisés pour illustrer la complexité d’un tel système à travers l’interdépendance de chaque élément du risque.

Des étapes ultérieures à la catégorisation des risques présentée dans ce rapport seraient donc nécessaires afin de peaufiner un prototype d’outil d’aide à la décision. Cet outil serait destiné aux producteurs de NPS et aux intervenants en prévention au travail pour les aider à mettre en place des mesures de contrôle pour assurer la santé et la sécurité des travailleurs exposés aux NPS.


,
Fonte: IRSST

UE: FutureNanoNeeds: "Framework to respond to regulatory needs of future nanomaterials and markets"

FutureNanoNeeds, "Framework to respond to regulatory needs of future nanomaterials and markets", FP7 project started on January 1st . The KICK-off meeting was celebrated in Dublin on February 9th and 10th hosted by the coordinator the University College Dublin (UCD).
This project will develop, during the next 4 years, a novel framework to enable naming, classification, hazard and environmental impact assessment of the next generation nanomaterials prior to their widespread industrial use. 
It will uniquely achieve this by integrating concepts and approaches from several well established contiguous domains, such as phylontology and crystallography to develop a robust, versatile and adaptable naming approach, coupled with a full assessment of all known biological protective responses as the basis for a decision tree for screening potential impacts of nanomaterials at all stages of their lifecycle. 
Together, these tools will form the basis of a "value chain" regulatory process which allows a each nanomaterial to be assessed for different applications on the basis of available data and the specific exposure and life cycle concerns for that application.
The FutureNanoNeeds consortium is uniquely placed to achieve this, on the basis of expertise, positioning, open mindedness and a belief that new approaches are required.
More info can be found at: www.futurenanoneeds.eu

Project Summary

Project Full Title: Framework to respond to regulatory needs of future nanomaterials and markets.
Project Acronym: FutureNanoNeeds.
Project Keywords: nano-objects, regulation, industry sectors, roadmap of future nanomaterials,
value chain, hazard, exposure, risk, communication.
Duration: from 1st January 2014 to 31st December 2017 (4 years).
Program: FP7-NMP-2013-LARGE-7.
Acitivity Code: NMP.2013.1.3-3: Development of a systematic framework for naming and assessing safety of
the next generations of nanomaterials being developed for industrial applications.
Project Abstract:
Rapidly developing markets such as green construction, energy harvesting and storage, advanced materials for aerospace, electronics, medical implants and environmental remediation are potential key application targets for nanomaterials. There, nanotechnology has the potential to make qualitative improvements or indeed even to enable the technology. Impacts range from increased efficiency of energy harvesting or storage batteries, to radical improvements in mechanical properties for construction materials. In addition, concerns of these markets such as scarcity of materials, cost, security of supply, and negative environmental impact of older products could also be addressed by new nano-enabled materials (e.g. lighter aircraft use less fuel). 
FutureNanoNeeds will develop a novel framework to enable naming, classification, hazard and environmental impact assessment of the next generation nanomaterials prior to their widespread industrial use. It will uniquely achieve this by integrating concepts and approaches from several well established contiguous domains, such as phylontology and crystallography to develop a robust, versatile and adaptable naming approach, coupled with a full assessment of all known biological protective responses as the basis for a decision tree for screening potential impacts of nanomaterials at all stages of their lifecycle. Together, these tools will form the basis of a “value chain” regulatory process which allows a each nanomaterial to be assessed for different applications on the basis of available data and the specific exposure and life cycle concerns for that application. Exemplar materials from emerging nano-industry sectors, such as energy, construction and agriculture will be evaluated via this process as demonstrators. The FutureNanoNeeds consortium is uniquely placed to achieve this, on the basis of expertise, positioning, open mindedness and a belief that new approaches are required.
Fonte: NANOfutures

Conclusions that nano-ingredients in sunscreen are safe are premature


Recent media reports that “nanoparticles in sunscreen are harmless” on the basis of a recently published study don’t reflect the paper’s own conclusions nor the current state of the science.

Whilst the results of this lab study study are interesting, more studies are needed reflecting real life conditions before any conclusions about the safety of nano zinc oxide in sunscreen can be drawn. Importantly, the paper draws no conclusions about the safety of nano-ingredients in sunscreen and also doesn’t look at other nano sunscreen ingredients such as titanium dioxide and cerium oxide.

What the study does acknowledge is that nano-ingredients can penetrate the skin and get into the bloodstream. This is something our sunscreen regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration has so far denied.

The view that nano-ingredients in sunscreen are safe is not shared by the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety. This body recently recommended that certain nano titanium dioxide (TiO2) ingredients not be used in sunscreen because they strongly react with sunlight to produce free radicals and that nano TiO2 and nano zinc oxide (ZnO) not be used in powder or sprayable products because of the toxicity risk associated with inhalation.

A recent Italian study using pig ear skin found that nano titanium dioxide damaged the outer layer of skin. The researchers warned that this could allow nanoparticles and other unwanted chemicals to penetrate the skin - posing a potential human health risk.

The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) is currently reviewing the safety of titanium dioxide (including the nano form) because of concerns in may be harmful to the environment and human health. Meanwhile our regulators here have taken no action to remove these ingredients from sunscreen.

Fonte: FoE- Friends of the Earth Australia - Nanotechnology Projectd - 

Scientists discover nanoparticles in sunscreen are harmless


Fears about dangers of nanoparticles in sunscreen may be unfounded, with research finding they are unlikely to harm beachgoers
.

Scientists have for the first time been able to see how the body's immune system deals with zinc oxide nanoparticles - an ingredient found in many popular sunscreens.

Researchers from the Australian Synchrotron, the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication, CSIRO, RMIT and Monash University found while the body absorbed the nanoparticles, it was able to identify and remove the particles before they reached the bloodstream.

''This is the first time that we have shown that the cells of the immune system can break down the nanoparticles directly,'' said Australian Synchrotron and CSIRO bio-inorganic chemist Simon James. ''Previous work was only able to infer that.''


Zinc oxide is added to sunscreen because of its ability to absorb or scatter the sun's ultraviolet radiation and prevent sunburn, but it had not been clear how the body dealt with the nanoparticles that penetrate the skin.

The researchers used a type of white blood cell called a macrophage which was exposed to zinc oxide nanoparticles. They then counted how many of the tiny cube-shaped particles were absorbed.

Dr James said on average 60,000 tiny nanoparticles made it into a single white blood cell.
''It's a tiny, tiny number, especially seeing as the cells are able to break them down,'' Dr James said.

Within 24-hours, the cells were able to break down 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the nanoparticles, with the majority of the remaining particles in the process of decomposition.
The results published in the journal ACS Nano found the body's immune system did what it should: it broke down nanoparticles before they could enter the bloodstream.

Cancer Council Australia chief executive Ian Olver said the results should reassure those concerned about nanoparticles in sunscreen.

''The nanoparticles in sunscreen are unlikely to cause harm to beachgoers,'' he said.



Fonte: The Age

Nanotechnology: Is the Magic Bullet Becoming Reality?

Researchers at a recent New York conference discuss what the future of nanomedicine may hold.

Richard A. Stein, M.D., Ph.D.

Nanotechnology: Is the Magic Bullet Becoming Reality?
Nanotech seems promising, but regulatory
and patent issues remain. [© Anterovium - Fotolia.com]
Slightly over a century ago, Paul Ehrlich coined the term “magic bullet” to refer to therapeutic compounds designed to selectively target a pathogen without affecting the host. Subsequently, this idea flourished not only for infectious diseases but also for other fields, such as cancer therapy. At the recent Nanomedicines: Addressing the Scientific and Regulatory Gap” conference held at the New York Academy of Sciences in late November, investigators discussed key concepts shaping a vibrant field that promises to bring this concept closer to the clinic.

Liposomes


“When we entered this field, from the few systems that existed, we chose to work on liposomes,” said Yechezkel Barenholz, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry at the Hebrew University – Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem. Liposomes presented the advantage that relatively more knowledge existed about their pharmacokinetic properties. The compound that Dr. Barenholz and colleagues started to work on, doxorubicin, is one of the most effective first-line anticancer therapeutics ever developed, but one of its disadvantages is that adverse effects occur in many organs upon systemic administration. Work by Dr. Barenholz and colleagues on a liposome-based doxorubicin formulation culminated with the development of Doxil (doxorubicin), the first nanodrug approved by the FDA in 1995.

“In a way, the success of this project started from a failure,” Dr. Barenholz said. Investigators in his lab initially developed a liposome-based doxorubicin formulation to reach the liver and treat hepatocellular carcinoma, and even though this worked well in an animal model, the pharmacokinetics was not favorable in humans. “As a result we became more determined, and in a new approach, we decided to first determine what kind of performance we need from liposomes, and then we used a materials science approach,” he added.

A key concept in developing the doxorubicin-loaded liposomes was the enhanced permeability and retention effect. This phenomenon, which results from differences in vasculature between normal and inflamed tissue, refers to the ability of the poorly aligned, fenestrated endothelial cells from the malignant tumor neovasculature to allow 10–300 nm diameter nanoparticles to cross and become selectively enriched in the tumor.

“This is not the case in normal tissues, and it represents the Achilles’ heel of the tumor,” said Dr. Barenholz. The defective lymphatic drainage of malignant tissues further facilitates the accumulation of nanoparticles.

To load the liposomes with doxorubicin, Dr. Barenholz and colleagues relied on a transmembrane ammonium sulfate gradient that acted as the driving force for the loading process. As a result, doxorubicin reached 100-fold higher concentrations in the intraliposomal aqueous phase as compared to the loading medium. The circulation time of liposomes was extended by stabilizing them with a formulation composed of phospholipids with high melting temperature, cholesterol, and a pegylated lipopolymer. Clinical studies in humans revealed that the nanoparticles accumulated in tumors, and doxorubicin reached higher concentrations in the tumor than what could what could be achieved with systemic administration.

“This formulation improves patient compliance and the quality of life,” Dr. Barenholz said.

TNF


“We wanted to use nanotechnology in cancer therapy and change the way we treat this disease,” said Lawrence Tamarkin, Ph.D., president and CEO of CytImmune. The approach that Dr. Tamarkin and colleagues developed relies on 27 nm gold nanoparticles that have been used since the 1930s to treat psoriatic arthritis and present an established history of safety.

The surface of the colloidal gold nanoparticles was simultaneously bound to covalently linked thiolyated PEG, to avoid immune detection, and recombinant human tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Clinically, TNF has been successfully used in Europe to treat tumors of the extremities, in a procedure known as isolated limb perfusion. Infusing high-dose TNF prior to chemotherapy can achieve 15–25-fold higher concentrations as compared to systemic administration, without the same risks of adverse effects. With this strategy, several studies found up to 95% response rates after one treatment in patients with melanoma and sarcoma. “We wanted to mimic this clinical experience systemically,” said Dr. Tamarkin.

The 27 nm-diameter gold nanoparticles are small enough to travel through the blood vessels, and the 2–4 nm gaps between endothelial cells in healthy blood vessels are too small to allow them to cross into tissues, due to the presence of the tight junctions. “But at the site of the tumor, where the neovasculature fenestrations are 200–400 nm, the blood pressure forces them into the tumor bed, where TNF molecules bind to TNF receptors on the endothelial cells and start causing vascular disruption,” he added.

In a Phase I clinical trial, CYT-6091, the nanotherapeutic that Dr. Tamarkin and colleagues developed, delivered up to 1.2 mg TNF, as compared to 0.4 mg, which is the maximum tolerated human dose, without any signs of dose-limiting toxicity. “The promise of nanotechnology is that we can reduce or eliminate toxicity and improve the therapeutic index,” he said. Moreover, the drug accumulated at tumor sites, and very few gold nanoparticles were seen in healthy tissues.

We intended not simply to reformulate an already approved drug, but to create a safe and effective therapeutic by using nanotechnology,” he said. Two patients, one with inoperable breast cancer and another one with pancreatic cancer, neither of them having previously undergone surgical treatment, showed the most nanoparticles accumulating in the tumor, as compared to the adjacent healthy tissue. “This indicated that perhaps treating patients surgically so quickly might not be a good idea, because it tears up the roadway that nanoparticles use to reach their targets,” he commented.

Gold nanoparticles accumulated in malignant tissues even at the lowest doses, but accumulation was not increasing in a dose-dependent manner. Reducing the tumor burden in situ offers the possibility to reduce the need for sophisticated surgery and the hospitalization time.

“We have the promise to dramatically improve healthcare because of decreased treatment costs,” he concluded.

Generic Nanotech


The concept of generic substitution, which guides the replacement of a prescribed brand of a drug with an identical formulation of the same active compound made by a different manufacturer, appears to open uncharted territory when applied to nanomedicine. Generic medicinal products are normally therapeutically equivalent and therefore interchangeable and substitutable to the reference (innovator) product because they are pharmaceutically comparable and bioequivalent, and they do not require additional clinical efficacy or safety studies.

“But it has to be ensured that the drug can be fully characterized,” said Stefan Mühlebach, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at the University of Basel and scientific director at Vifor Pharma. The generic paradigm was successful in the past for small molecules such as aspirin, but it is more problematic for the more complex biological drugs, which are much larger and more difficult to characterize. A third category of medicinal products, the nonbiological complex drugs, is distinct from both the small molecules and the biological therapeutics by the presence of multiple different large molecular structures, some of which may be nanoparticulate, and by not being a biological.
In nonbiological complex drugs, the entire product represents the active pharmaceutical ingredient, all the components contribute to the characteristics of the final product, and the properties cannot be fully characterized by physicochemical means, which is a prerequisite to show pharmaceutical comparability to a reference listed drug (RLD) and requested for generics.

“The characterization of nonbiological complex drugs is seriously limited by the fact that we do not always know what to look for when characterizing clinical meaningful differences,” said Dr. Mühlebach. Additionally, the characteristics of nonbiological complex drugs are highly dependent on the elaborate, multistep synthetic manufacturing process.

Examples of nonbiological complex drugs are the iron carbohydrates, such as iron sucrose used for intravenous iron treatment, liposomal drugs, and some polymeric polypeptides like the glatiramoids. Iron sucrose, a colloidal solution, was introduced into therapy almost 50 years ago and used safely without knowing its nanomedicine character. “A challenge for some of these products is that the first generation of compounds started to be even replaced by competitors (similars) in the absence of the awareness on their nano properties and a lack of established or appropriate regulatory evaluation tools,” he added.

The example of an iron sucrose similar that was used to substitute for the original compound is revealing. A retrospective analysis that investigated adverse effects in 600–700 postpartum gynecology patients from South Korea showed that the original product always caused fewer adverse effects compared to the new formulation. When diluted and administered over a longer time, classically used to improve the tolerance for a parenteral drug, even more adverse effects were reported with the new formulation, contrary to the predictions, but understandable from the complexity and the fragile stability of the products. As these results indicate, the conventional generic paradigm is not reliable any longer in the case of nanosimilars, and concluding that two products could be interchangeable, substitutable, or therapeutically equivalent may be wrong.

“What we know about nanosimilars is that we need to go into the details of understanding the complexity of the manufacturing process, not only starting with the materials, but also regarding the final product, because these aspects are of highest importance for pharmaceutical equivalence, bioequivalence or the fate of the product in the body and finally efficacy and safety of the therapeutic product for the patient,” Dr. Mühlebach said.

Regulatory Issues


“Nanotechnology, along with the promise and benefits that it brings, may also raise some questions and concerns over safety and effectiveness,” says Ritu Nalubola, Ph.D, senior policy advisor at the Food and Drug Administration. 
Some of the most significant regulatory considerations revolve around unveiling the properties of nanomaterials and understanding the relevance of those properties to the regulatory status of the specific products.

To provide a framework for the regulatory oversight of emerging technologies in general and ofnanotechnology products in particular, in 2011 the Emerging Technologies Policy Coordination Committee prepared two strategic documents. “Building on these U.S. government policy principles, the FDA developed its own agency-specific regulatory approach, and these emphasize our mission to protect and promote public health, adopt risk-based regulatory approaches based on sound science, and develop transparent and predictable regulatory pathways that are grounded in the best available science,” says Dr. Nalubola.

The definition of nanoparticles—including their size, which has commonly been placed in the 1-100 nm range—continues to present ample interest for regulatory purposes. “There are challenges in deciding how to address aggregates, agglomerates, and some other complex structures, and whether, in addition, we should also take into account novel engineering properties for regulatory purposes”, Dr. Nalubola commented.

In 2011, the FDA issued a draft guidance that provides a broad screening tool for regulatory processes. “The FDA draft guidance recognizes our interests in size, but also that our interest extends beyond size, and that other properties are also relevant for safety and efficacy reviews,” she said. The guidance document encourages industry to seek FDA consultation early during product development, to ensure that any questions related to safety, effectiveness, and regulatory status can be adequately and timely identified and addressed.

We also articulated our general position, which is that we do not categorically judge all nanotechnology products as being inherently benign or harmful but, rather, that we are looking at products and their characteristics on a case-by-case basis,” she added. This ensures that the current regulatory framework is sufficiently robust and flexible enough to consider a variety of nanomaterials, and to concomitantly identify existing regulatory gaps.

The FDA is actively engaged in the national nanotechnology initiative and participates in some of its research activities. “On the policy side, and in context of the Emerging Technologies Interagency Policy Coordination Committee, we have ongoing dialogues on developing policy approaches and policy-related coordination, and we also participate in the international arena with our regulatory counterparts,” Dr. Nalubola said.

From more than 80,000 articles on nanoparticles that were available on PubMed in January 2014, over half were published after 2010, revealing the interest and progress that are marking this area. As a multidisciplinary field, nanotechnology impacted diverse disciplines including agriculture, engineering, energy production, communications, information technology, cosmetics, and biomedicine. Among these, the diverse biomedical applications provide a clear indication that Ehrlich’s era of the “magic bullet” is becoming reality.

Fool’s Gold in the Nanotech Patent Rush


The past few years, especially the past decade, have witnessed a nanotechnology patent boom, a sort of patent ‘land grab’ by ‘patent prospectors’ who have captured upstream, foundational nanotechnology-related technologies,” says Raj Bawa, Ph.D., patent agent at Bawa Biotech LLC in Ashburn, VA, and adjunct professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.

A lack of a universal nanonomenclature
is one factor complicating the
patenting of nanotechnologies. [© Raj Bawa]

At the recently concluded New York Academy of Sciences meeting, Dr. Bawa discussed some of the main considerations with respect to nanotechnology and nanopharma patents. According to information obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), as of December 2012 over 8,000 U.S. nanopatents have been issued by various PTO technology centers and classified under Class 977. However, Dr. Bawa does not put too much stake into these numbers and even considers the classification strategy inadequate.

These data simply reflects an upward trend, a sort of ‘nano-explosion’ and nothing more,” he commented. “It is based on the ill-conceived National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) definition of nanotechnology that limits all nanostructures and nanoproducts to a subnanometer range. Obviously, such a narrow (1-100 nm) and arbitrary classification scheme by the PTO misses many, if not most U.S. nanopatents and the actual numbers are meaningless to a researcher, policy-maker, or patent practitioner.”

Another significant conundrum pertaining to nanotechnology patenting is the lack of a universal nanonomenclature whereby researchers and policy-makers often use distinct terms to refer to the same or similar nanostructure. Furthermore, the late 1980s and early 1990s have witnessed issuance of more than one U.S. nanopatent for the same invention.

“This is contrary to the foundation of U.S. patent law where only one U.S. patent may be issued per invention,” Dr. Bawa added. “Partly, this situation developed because the search tools and commercial databases that were being used by patent examiners at the PTO, while well-suited to search patents on established technologies, were not well scaled to search most of the early scientific literature residing in scientific publications, as opposed to U.S. patents. Also, the U.S. patent examiners generally lacked expertise and training with respect to the emerging field of nanotechnology.”

The classic example of these limitations is the issuance of multiple U.S. patents on carbon nanotubes. In a study on carbon nanotubes, Dr. Bawa and colleagues analyzed the claims from approximately 200 existing patents. “We discovered many foundational patents on carbon nanotubes recited overlapping or ‘legally identical’ patent claims,” he said. “A classical patent thicket exists today with respect to carbon nanotube patents.”


One of the reasons that major conflicts have not emerged in this area is that not too many products have been commercialized yet. “The hope is that such U.S. patents will expire prior to widespread commercialization so that there is little or no need for litigation. However, some have proposed that the government employ provisions under the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 by imposing compulsory licensing while others have even urged creation of an open-source type process to rectify the erroneous issuance of some of these basic, foundational U.S. nanopatents so that downstream development of nanotechnologies are not stifled,” Dr. Bawa said.



Fonte: GEN

sábado, 25 de janeiro de 2014

Nanomaterials: Bin and burn?

Scientists in the US have begun addressing the question of whether the disposal of nanomaterials could damage the environment, by investigating the fate of nanomaterials in incinerators.
 
It is inevitable that nanomaterials will enter the
waste stream and be incinerated © Shutterstock
Over the past few decades, nanomaterials have proven to be extremely useful, and as our understanding of their unique properties has increased, so has the variety of applications for which they have been used. For example, nanomaterials make excellent catalysts due to their very large surface area to volume ratios, and they are very popular in the medical industry as vehicles for the delivery of drugs into the body. But it’s not only in industry that nanomaterials have been making their mark, they are slowly but surely making their way into a myriad of consumer products as well. Nanomaterials are already being used as UV filters in sun cream and in cosmetics as colourants, and nanosilver is becoming popular as an antibacterial agent in fabrics and cleaning products.
 
Over the next few decades the use of nanomaterials is likely to increase. Companies are already working towards using nanomaterials to develop the next generation of high definition TVs and there is speculation that nanomaterials could one day be used to make better rechargeable batteries. But as the theoretical becomes the possible, has anyone stopped to think about how the disposal of all these nanomaterials could affect the environment?
 
‘The presence of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles in incinerated products may actively reduce emissions of other potentially harmful chemicals’
A study by Linsey Marr and co-workers from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg suggests that the scientific community is starting to look into the potential impacts of nanomaterial disposal. In their study, the team tried to elucidate the fate of nanomaterials that end up in incinerators. There are concerns that some nanomaterials may be toxic to certain organisms and as the use of nanotechnology increases it is inevitable that some nanomaterials will enter the waste stream and be incinerated. As such, it is important to fully understand what happens to nanomaterials during the incineration process.
 
Although the group’s research is still in its early stages, it did throw up some pretty interesting results. The principal finding was that the majority of the nanomaterials partition into the ash at the bottom of the incinerator, but a particularly interesting discovery was that nanoparticles in the waste could influence the efficiency of combustion in the incinerator as well as the composition of the emissions released. For example, metal oxide nanomaterials were found to increase the efficiency of combustion and decrease the emission of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Meanwhile silver nanoparticles decreased combustion efficiency and increased PAH emissions.
The majority of the nanomaterials partition into the ash at the bottom of the incinerator
‘This is a complex and largely unexplored area of research and more studies are needed to help ensure the responsible use of engineered nanomaterials,’ says Andrew Maynard, the NSF International Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, in Ann Arbor, US. ‘It is clear that many nanoparticles end up in the incinerator ash and what happens to them after this warrants further investigation, but this research also demonstrates that the presence of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles in incinerated products may actively reduce emissions of other potentially harmful chemicals.’
 
Vejerano and colleagues are now investigating the toxicity of the nanoparticles in the incinerator ash.
 

sexta-feira, 24 de janeiro de 2014

Nanoforce project releases 'Book of recommendations for the European Commission'

NANOFORCE is providing a set of recommendations collected for the European Commission in order to evaluate the applicability of the available regulations in the European Union"Book of recommendations for the European Commission – Excerpt" (you can also download the long version here). In the light of the revision of the REACH regulation in 2014 the NANOFORCE recommendations should support the European Commission in order to evaluate the current state of guidance for research and industry on nanotechnology implementation.
Background
The European regulatory framework is growing slowly but steadily, however available regulations and guidance documents miss some details regarding nanotechnological aspects. An established legal advisory board for chemical enterprises starting in nanotechnology provides information on existing safety and nanotech related regulations within the European region including information and guidelines on endpoint measurements for nanomaterials. Within the aim of the Central Europe project NANOFORCE the general objective is to connect public and private organizations, to carry out collaborative and interdisciplinary research on nanomaterials, and to turn the most promising laboratory results into innovative applications or products.
NANOFORCE is providing a set of recommendations collected for the European Commission in order to evaluate the applicability of the available regulations in the European Union. In the light of the revision of the REACH regulation in 2014 the NANOFORCE recommendations should support the European Commission in order to evaluate the current state of guidance for research and industry on nanotechnology implementation. NANOFORCE therefore has collected samples of three nanomaterials of great interest for marketability and provided a data sets of lab analysis which will lead to safety data sheets showing how the tested nanomaterials can be produced and professionally used conforming to safety and users guidelines. Furthermore recommendations are being given on how to adapt a regular bulk material safety data sheet to the special requirements of a nanoproduct focusing on the correct implementation of nano - derived products and market placement.
Results are generated by standardized in vitro testing methods for human toxicity and ecotoxicological testing of nanomaterials like nano-silver, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. A set of recommendations provided will focus on nano specific information for adaption of safety data sheets. Additionally to these recommendations the safety data sheet and exposure scenarios are examples published to show how to classify material, provide data for in depth life cycle analysis relevant for the end user and additionally provide a draft of qualitative exposure scenarios.

Fonte: Nanowerk

NANoREG – A common European approach to the regulatory testing of Manufactured Nanomaterials


The innovative and economic potential of Manufacture Nanomaterials (MNMs) is threatened by limited understanding of MNM safety aspects along the value chains. Substantial efforts have given insights in toxicity of and exposure to MNMs.

However, today's knowledge is not comprehensive enough for regulatory purposes, answering open questions is urgently required. The outstanding approach of NANoREG will provide the right answers to Society, Industry and the National Regulation and Legislation Authorities.



The innovative and economic potential of Manufactured Nano Materials (MNMs) is threatened by a limited understanding of the related EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) issues. While toxicity data is continuously becoming available, the relevance to regulators is often unclear or unproven. The shrinking time to market of new MNM drives the need for urgent action by regulators. NANoREG is the first FP7 project to deliver the answers needed by regulators and legislators on EHS by linking them to a scientific evaluation of data and test methods.
Based on questions and requirements supplied by regulators and legislators, NANoREG will:
(i) provide answers and solutions from existing data, complemented with new knowledge,
(ii) Provide a tool box of relevant instruments for risk assessment, characterisation, toxicity testing and exposure measurements of MNMs,
(iii) develop, for the long term, new testing strategies adapted to innovation requirements,
(iv) Establish a close collaboration among authorities, industry and science leading to efficient and practically applicable risk management approaches for MNMs and products containing MNMs.
The interdisciplinary approach involving the three main stakeholders (Regulation, Industry and Science) will significantly contribute to reducing the risks from MNMs in industrial and consumer products.
NANoREG starts by analysing existing knowledge (from WPMN-, FP- and other projects). This is combined with a synthesis of the needs of the authorities and new knowledge covering the indentified gaps, used to fill the validated NANoREG tool box and data base, conform with ECHA's IUCLID DB structure.
To answer regulatory questions and needs NANoREG will set up the liaisons with the regulation and legislation authorities in the NANoREG partner countries, establish and intensify the liaisons with selected industries and new enterprises, and develop liaisons to global standardisation and regulation institutions in countries like USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Russia.

1. Providing legislators with a set of tools for risk assessment and decision making instruments for the short to medium term, by gathering data and performing pilot risk assessment, including exposure monitoring and control, for a selected number of nanomaterials used in products;
2. Developing for the long term, new testing strategies adapted to a high number of nanomaterials where many factors can affect their environmental and health impact.
3. Establishing a close collaboration among authorities and industry with regard to the knowledge required for appropriate risk management, and create the basis for common approaches, mutually acceptable datasets and risk management practices.

Linking regulatory questions and needs to answers from science
NANoREG is the first project of any EU Framework Programme to combine the questions and needs of regulatory and legislation authorities with the science community, thereby delivering the knowledge required to provide unambiguous answers. The NANoREG approach is structured in seven steps:
 workflow 
A)   Working out the requirements and questions of the national regulation and legislation authorities, complemented with general knowledge about gaps, such as defined in the RIPoN 2/3 ports or by SG6 of OECD. 
B)    Development of an interdisciplinary solution strategy within WP 1 in order to structure R&D activities preparing the answers and solutions.
C)    Performing R&D and validation projects in order to elaborate a solid ground for recommendations, answering the questions and needs of decision makers of legislation authorities and industry. Independent test and case studies examining the answers and solutions.
D)    Synthesis of validated information to respond to the questions and requirements for the national regulation and legislation authorities.
E)    Synthesis and answers to solutions.
F)    Transferring the knowledge to the national authorities and experts in workshops, dissemination of the not protected findings to all stakeholders, nationally and internationally; monitoring the exploitation of the results by the national regulation and legislation authorities.
G)   Collecting all tested instruments, recommendations etc. in the "NANoREG INSTRUMENT TOOL BOX" for regulators and legislators.


Fonte: NANoREG

NanosSatélites: Cubesats na América do Sul



Na terça-feira (21), reproduzimos uma notícia da Agência Espacial Brasileira (AEB) sobre o projeto do cubesat NanosatC-Br-1, desenvolvido pelo Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (UFSM) e Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). A notícia, aliás, foi atualizada com algumas correções e acréscimos em seu conteúdo (clique aqui para visualizá-la).

Nos últimos meses, outros dois países sul-americanos executaram com sucesso missões similares. Em novembro, a Agência Civil Espacial do Equador lançou o seu segundo cubesat, o NEE-02 Krysaor, com uma câmera de vídeo para imageamento da superfície terrestre como carga útil. O artefato é similar ao NEE-01 Pegaso, primeiro nanossatélite da história do país andino, colocado em órbita em abril passado. Este foi perdido um mês após sua entrada em operação, ao se chocar no espaço com componentes de um antigo foguete russo.

No mesmo voo do Krysaor, realizado por um lançador Dnepr (o mesmo que transportará o NanosatC-Br-1), seguiram os dois primeiros nanossatélites peruanos, o PUCP-Sat 1 e o Pocket-UPCP, projetados e construídos pelo Instituto de Radioastronomia (INRAS) da Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Peru (PUCP).

Este mês, outro projeto peruano, o UAP SAT-1, da Universidad Alas Peruanas, seguiu para o espaço, levado por um foguete norte-americano Antares com a cápsula Cygnus rumo à Estação Espacial Internacional. Este cubesat, aliás, contou com a participação da empresa colombiana Sequoia Space, que participa ainda de missões na Colômbia, Chile e Equador.

As missões de cubesats sofreram um grande "boom" nos últimos anos, graças a miniaturização tecnológica, aos seus custos relativamente reduzidos para padrões espaciais, geralmente de dezenas ou algumas centenas de milhares de dólares, e ampliação do leque de aplicações. Para muitos países e universidades, trata-se de uma "porta" de acesso à tecnologia espacial, e também de capacitação de "mão de obra" altamente especializada.



Fonte: Panorama Espacial

Vocabulário ISO para as Nanotecnologias



A Organização Internacional de Normalização (ISO), Comitê Técnico sobre Nanotecnologias, lançou recentemente uma nova norma constituída de diferentes documentos que fornecem termos e definições relacionadas aos processos de nanofabricação na área das nanotecnologias.

Na Introdução da norma o Comitê destaca que a Nanofabricação é a ponte essencial entre as descobertas das nanociências e nanotecnologia dos produtos do mundo real.

Veja completo aqui.





Fonte: ABDI-NanoEmFoco

Nanotecnologia: pesquisa aponta agências reguladoras "desesperadas"


Três grupos de stakeholders (partes interessadas) concordam que os reguladores não estão adequadamente preparados para gerir os riscos resultantes das nanotecnologias, conforme artigo publicado na revista PlosOne. [Expert Views on Regulatory Preparedness for Managing the Risks of Nanotechnologies].

... verificaram que aqueles que percebem os riscos colocados pela nanotecnologia como "romance" estão mais inclinados a acreditar que os reguladores não estão preparados.

Representantes dos próprios órgãos reguladores sentiram mais fortemente que este era o caso. "As pessoas responsáveis por regulação são as mais céticas sobre sua habilidade para regular", disse a diretora do CNS e co-autora do trabalho, Barbara Herr Harthom. 

"A mensagem é essencialmente esta", revelou o primeiro autor, Christian Bbeaudrie,... "quanto mais os riscos são vistos como novos, menos confiança demonstram os entrevistados nos mecanismos de regulação. Isto é, os reguladores não têm ferramentas para fazer adequadamente o trabalho".

Veja completo aqui



Fonte: ABDI-NanoEmFoco

Nanotecnologia: Fórum Social Mundial Temático - 2014


As nanotecnologias farão parte de três oficinas:
Dia 23/1, 9h, Nanotecnologia, Regulação e Direito;
Dia 23/1, 14h, Nanotecnologia, Riscos e Impactos a Saúde;
Dia 24/1, 9h, Tecnociência, Democracia e Engajamento Público: Reflexões sobre Nanotecnologia.
Todas as oficinas ocorrerão no seguinte endereço: FUNDACENTRO: Av. Borges de Medeiros, 659, 10º andar, Centro Histórico, Porto Alegre, RS.
A seguir informações sobre as oficinas na net via transmissão da FUNDACENTRO
Fórum Social Temático
Assunto da reunião: Nanotecnologia, Democracia e Engajamento Público ID de reunião: 6600 Data: 24/01/2014 Horário: 09:00 (Brasilia Summer Time) Duração: 03:00 PIN da reunião: 24012014 PIN Moderador: 6600
Para participar da reunião, acesse http://conferencia.fundacentro.gov.br/scopia?ID=6600&autojoin
Para assistir a um webcast, acesse:http://conferencia.fundacentro.gov.br/scopia?ID=6600
Assunto da reunião: Nanotecnologia, Riscos e Impactos para a Saúde ID de reunião: 6600 Data: 23/01/2014 Horário: 14:00 (Brasilia Summer Time) Duração: 02:00 PIN da reunião: 23012014 PIN Moderador: 6600
Para participar da reunião, acesse http://conferencia.fundacentro.gov.br/scopia?ID=6600&autojoin
Para assistir a um webcast, acesse:http://conferencia.fundacentro.gov.br/scopia?ID=6600
É recomendável instalar o plugin antecipadamente. Para instalar, acesse http://conferencia.fundacentro.gov.br/scopia?client Para se conectar a partir de um terminal IP, disque: 6600
Assunto da reunião: Nanotecnologia, Regulação e Direito ID de reunião: 6600 Data: 23/01/2014 Horário: 09:30 (Brasilia Summer Time) Duração: 02:00 PIN da reunião: 23012014 PIN Moderador: 6600
Para participar da reunião, acesse http://conferencia.fundacentro.gov.br/scopia?ID=6600&autojoin
Para assistir a um webcast, acesse:http://conferencia.fundacentro.gov.br/scopia?ID=6600
É recomendável instalar o plugin antecipadamente. Para instalar, acesse http://conferencia.fundacentro.gov.br/scopia?client Para se conectar a partir de um terminal IP, disque: 6600


Fonte: Jusnano