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New UCLA method quickly IDs nanomaterials that can cause oxidative damage to cells
Date:5/3/2012

24 metal-oxide nanoparticles to determine which were most likely to lead to toxicity under real-life exposure. Using a high-throughput screening assay (performed by robotic equipment and an automated image-capture microscope), they tested the two dozen materials on a variety of cell types in a matter of a few hours and found that six of them those that had previously met the researchers' predictive criteria for being toxic based on their band-gap energy led to oxidative damage in cells.

The team then tested the nanomaterials in well-orchestrated animal studies and found that only those materials that had led to oxidative damage in cells were capable of generating inflammation in the lungs of mice, confirming the researchers' band-gap hypothesis.

"The ability to make such predictions, starting with cells in a test tube, and extrapolating the results to intact animals and humans exposed to potentially hazardous metal oxides, is a huge step forward in the safety screening of nanomaterials," said senior author Dr. Andre Nel, chief of the division of nanomedicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA and director of the University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology.

According to the researchers, this new safety-assessment technology has the potential to replace traditional testing, which is currently performed one material at a time in labor-intensive animal studies using a "wait-and-see" approach that doesn't reveal why the implicated nanomaterials could be hazardous. The UCLA team's predictive approach and screening technique could speed up the ability to assess large numbers of emerging new nanomaterials rather than waiting for their toxicological potential to become manifest before action is taken.

"Being able to integrate metal-oxide electronic properties into a predictive and high-throughput scientific platform in this work coul
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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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