International workshop on the risks and medical possibilities of nanotechnology

Published 2012-06-11 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:33

[PRESS INVITATION 11 June 2012] While nanotechnology offers enormous opportunities in a wide range of important areas, nanomaterials may also exert adverse effects on human health. New findings on the potential risks and medical applications of nanotechnology are to be presented at an international workshop at Karolinska Institutet on 15-16 June.

The Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM) presents the "2nd Italian-Swedish Workshop on Health Impacts of Engineered Nanomaterials".

Date & time: Fri. 15 June, 09.00 am - 5.00 pm; Sat. 16 June, 09.00 am - 3.00 pm

Venue: Sal Atrium, Nobels väg 12, Karolinska Institutet, Solna

Nanomaterials comprise extremely small particles of a scale down to one billionth of a metre; to put this in perspective, the diameter of a human hair is 80,000 nanometres. Nanomaterials can be found in many modern consumer products, such as cosmetics, sun screen and sports goods. Much effort is also being put into producing nanomaterials that can have medical applications; some scientists even predict that nanotechnology is set to revolutionise medicine.

If nanomaterials are to be used in medicine, one must understand the impact they have on biological systems. Several lectures at the conference will be discussing this matter, and addressing such medical applications as targeted drug delivery in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Nanomaterials have much greater precision and thus preserve adjacent healthy tissue.

Carbon nanotubes are produced in large quantities and these materials are thought to pose a health threat. Research has shown that exposure to these particles can cause lung diseases similar to those caused by asbestos.

Scientists from Italy and Sweden will be discussing how the levels of nanomaterials at a workplace can be measured and what biomarkers can be studied in normal blood samples of people exposed to nanomaterials.

The conference is a co-arrangement between Karolinska Institutet and Tor Vergata University in Rome. The main speaker is Paulo Macchiarini, guest professor at Karolinska Institutet, who in 2011 performed the world's first transplant of an artificial trachea made from nanomaterials in a patient with advanced stage cancer.

The principal sponsor of the conference is the Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM) at Karolinska Institutet. It is also supported by the Embassy of Italy in Stockholm and by the EU's FP7-MARINA (Managing Risks of Nanomaterials) project.

Reporters interested in covering a particular part of the conference or interviewing one of the speakers are asked to contact: