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Posted: January 10, 2007

China kicks off study on bio-safety of nanomaterials

(Nanowerk News) From a news release by the Chinese Academy of Sciences:
The 21st century has witnessed the rapid development of nanoscience and technology. The nano-material, for example, have been manufactured in large scale and widely used in nearly 1,000 consumer goods and industrial products. Yet, due to their unique characteristics, nano-particles are found to have unusual interactions with the bio-system inside the human body, and disturb or regulate the life process, which might bring damages to people's health. To take the reins of the nano-technology, making it benefit, instead of hurt, our health is not only a challenge facing scientists, but also a critical issue for the governments of various countries when formulating an S&T strategy in frontier areas and public safety.
At present, studies on the bio-effects of nano-materials and their functioning mechanism are still in their preliminary stage. If China wants to be a big player in the development and production of nano-technology in the world, a crucial approach for it to raise its own competitiveness is to set national standards on nano-technology, including the safety standards.
To cope with these issues, with the support of the National Basic Research Program, a research team led by ZHAO Yuliang from the CAS-affiliated National Center for Nanoscience and Technology has started its research into bio-safety of artificial nano-materials.
In light of overall development of nanoscience and technology in this country and key issues in the interactions between the nano-particles and life bodies, the researchers will carry out studies on typical nano-materials which are now in mass production in China from the following six aspects: the special bio-behavior of nano-particles in an organism and its relations with the nano-characters; the selectivity of target-organs and target-cells, and cellular toxic effects; the innovative methodology in examination of the nanoparticles and their bio-effect research; exploration of the safety schemes of nano-materials, and data compilation and assessment about nano-safety, methods for numerical analysis of the nano-material's bio-effects or the establishment of nano-safety modeling.
Through the studies, the researchers strive to systematically reveal common patterns for the interactions between nano-materials and life processes at various levels, ranging from a molecule, cell to the entire living being, and to model the bio-effect's prediction and its construction. In addition, they will make efforts to establish China's first data bank on nano-safety, providing scientific grounds for the safety prediction and protection of man-made nano-materials and introduction of schemes to solve issues on nano-safety. In this aspect, they are expected to attain some key R&D results to guarantee overall development and competitive edge for nanoscience and technology in China.
Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences
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