Engineered nanomaterials: Toxicological studies and biomedical implications
Engineered nanomaterials have unique physico-chemical properties that make them promising for many technological and biomedical applications, including tissue regeneration, drug and gene delivery and in vivo imaging of disease processes. However, intentional as well as unintentional human exposures to engineered nanomaterials are set to increase, and this necessitates an increased understanding of the potential adverse effects on human health and the environment.
Nanotoxicology is an emerging discipline focused on understanding the properties of engineered nanomaterials and their interactions with biological systems, and may be viewed as the study of the undesirable interference between man-made nanomaterials and cellular nanostructures or nanomachines (Fadeel & Garcia-Bennett, Adv. Drug Deliv. Rev., 2010; Shvedova, Kagan, Fadeel, Annu. Rev. Pharmacol. Toxicol., 2010; Feliu & Fadeel, Nanoscale, 2010; Fadeel & Nyström, J Control Release, 2012).
Our research is currently focused on the interaction of engineered nanomaterials with the immune system, the primary defense system against foreign intrusion. Principal funding: Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS), Swedish Cancer and Allergy Foundation, and the European Commission. We are interested in molecular mechanisms of nanoparticle internalization and biodegradation, and we study mechanisms of cytotoxicity including the induction of programmed cell death (apoptosis), oxidative stress, and inflammation, and the role of the so-called corona of biomolecules (proteins, lipids) in regulation of nano-bio-interactions in vitro and in vivo. We are actively engaged in numerous international collaborations in the field of nanotoxicology including the FP7-MARINA project (managing risks of nanomaterials).