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Research explores interactions between nanomaterials, biological systems
Date:6/19/2009

The recent explosion in the development of nanomaterials with enhanced performance characteristics for use in commercial and medical applications has increased the likelihood of people coming into direct contact with these materials.

There are currently more than 800 products on the market including clothes, skin lotions and cleaning products claiming to have at least one nanocomponent, and therapeutic nanocarriers have been designed for targeted drug delivery inside the human body. Human exposure to nanomaterials, which are smaller than one one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair, raises some important questions, including whether these "nano-bio" interactions could have adverse health effects.

Now, researchers at UCLA and the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), along with colleagues in academia and industry, have taken a proactive role in examining the current understanding of the nano-bio interface to identify the potential risks of engineered nanomaterials and to explore design methods that will lead to safer and more effective nanoparticles for use in a variety of treatments and products.

In a research review published in the July issue of the journal Nature Materials (and currently available online), the team provides a comprehensive overview of current knowledge on the physical and chemical properties of nanomaterials that allow them to undergo interactions with biological molecules and bioprocesses.

"What we have established here is a blueprint that will serve to educate the first generation of nanobiologists," said Dr. Andre Nel, leader of the team and chief of the division of nanomedicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the California NanoSystems Institute.

Despite remarkable advances in nanoscience, relatively little is known about the intracellular activity and function of engineered nanomaterials, an area of study particularly important for the development of e
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Contact: Jennifer Marcus
jmarcus@cnsi.ucla.edu
310-267-4839
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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