Scheme: Newton International Fellowships
Organisation: Natural History Museum
Dates: Sep 2009-Aug 2011
Summary: Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of materials and creation of devices at the nanometre scale. The produced nanostructures have one or more dimensions of 100 nanometers or less, synthesised to have specific properties for dedicated applications. Nanotechnology has the potential to solve many of modern society’s problems, notably in medicine and the environment. Although an increase in interest in regulating risks from nanotechnologies is evident in recent years, research and regulation of risks lag behind the driving forces of intellectual curiosity and commercial potential. The aim of this work is to contribute to a better understanding of the risks of nanotechnology and ultimately to their control.
In my study I investigate hydroxylapatite (HAP, Ca5(PO4)3OH) nanoparticles. HAP is a commonly used biomaterial. HAP deposition in soft tissue, however, is common in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and is a threat for organ damage. HAP particles are also used as tissue fillers, where they frequently cause inflammation and other undesirable responses. Despite that, HAP nanoparticles have recently been proposed for human use as a vehicle for vaccination, drug delivery, in stent medication and in many other medical innovations.
This Newton fellowship focuses on the reactivity and the potential toxicity of HAP NPs. Because of the nature of HAP as a nanobiomaterial and its increased use, there is a clear need for a better understanding of any related potential health hazard.