Navigation Links
Notre Dame study explores the potential benefits and threats of nanotechnology research
Date:1/25/2013

Every day scientists learn more about how the world works at the smallest scales. While this knowledge has the potential to help others, it's possible that the same discoveries can also be used in ways that cause widespread harm.

A new article in the journal Nanomedicine, born out of a Federal Bureau of Investigation workshop held at the University of Notre Dame in September 2012, tackles this complex "dual-use" aspect of nanotechnology research.

"The rapid pace of breakthroughs in nanotechnology, biotechnology, and other fields, holds the promise of great improvements in areas such as medical diagnosis and treatment" says Kathleen Eggleson, a research scientist in Notre Dame's Center for Nano Science and Technology and the author of the study.

"But the risk of misuse of these breakthroughs rises along with the potential benefit. This is the essence of the 'dual-use dilemma.'"

The report examines the potential for nano-sized particles (which are measured in billionths of a meter) to breach the blood-brain barrier, the tightly knit layers of cells that afford the brain the highest level of protectionfrom microorganisms, harmful molecules, etc.in the human body. Some neuroscientists are purposefully engineering nanoparticles that can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) so as to deliver medicines in a targeted and controlled way directly to diseased parts of the brain.

At the same time, the report notes, "nanoparticles designed to cross the BBB constitute a serious threatin the context of combat." For example, it is theorized that "aerosol delivery" of some nano-engineered agent in "a crowded indoor space" could cause serious harm to many people at once.

The problem of dual-use research was highlighted last year when controversy erupted over the publication of findings that indicate how, with a handful modifications, the H5N1 influenza virus ("bird flu") can be altered in a way that would enable it to be transmitted between mammalian populations.

After a self-imposed one-year moratorium on this research, several laboratories around the world announced that they will restart the work in early 2013.

The FBI is actively responding to these developments in the scientific community.

"The law enforcement-security community seeks to strengthen the existing dialogue with researchers," William So of the FBI's Biological Countermeasures Unit says in the study.

"Science flourishes because of the open and collaborative atmosphere for sharing and discussing ideas. The FBI believes this model can do the same for our two communities[and] create effective safeguards for science and national interests."

The scientists and engineers who conduct nanoscale research have the ability and responsibility to consider the public safety aspects of their research and to act to protect society when necessary, argues Eggleson.

"The relationship between science and society is an uneasy one, but it is undeniable on the whole and not something any individual can opt out of in the name of progress for humanity's benefit," she says.

"Thought about dual-use, and action when appropriate, is inherent to socially responsible practice of nanobiomedical science."


'/>"/>

Contact: Kathleen Eggleson
keggleso@nd.edu
574-631-1229
University of Notre Dame
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Notre Dame researchers demonstrate new DNA detection technique
2. Notre Dame researchers develop paint-on solar cells
3. Nanotrees harvest the suns energy to turn water into hydrogen fuel
4. Notre Dame paper examines nanotechnology-related safety and ethics problem
5. Notre Dame to be part of $194 million university research center network
6. Positive Clinical Study Results for BSPs HyperQ Technology
7. 15-Minute Data From Phase 3 Study of Avanafil Featured as a Late Breaking Abstract at SMSNA Annual Meeting
8. DermTechs Non-invasive Melanoma Detection Assay Poised to Enter Clinical Validation Study
9. Marshall study shows nanoparticles used as additives in diesel fuels can travel from lungs to liver
10. Clionsky Neuro Systems (CNS-Neuro) Announces Publication of Study Finding Elderly Patients Unable to Recognize Their Memory Loss
11. Convergence Pharmaceuticals Initiates Phase I Multiple Ascending Dose Study for CNV2197944
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... A compact PET scanner called NuPET™ has ... Resonance Imaging) in existing third-party MRI systems. PET and MRI are complementary imaging ... Simultaneous PET/MRI imaging offers a solution to many challenges that face researchers who ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... , April 27, 2016 MedDay, ... disorders, today announces the appointment of Catherine Moukheibir as Chairman ... MedDay,s previous Chairman, Jean Jacques Garaud , who contributed ... change is effective immediately. Catherine started her career ... and London .  She held ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 26, 2016 , ... BaseHealth , the comprehensive ... company as Chief Business Officer. Arianpour, a genomics pioneer and visionary commercial leader ... most recently Chief Commercial Officer of Pathway Genomics. He has held senior executive ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 26, 2016 , ... Mr. Palmer created the ... signing the first multi-million dollar, multi-year managed services contract in the U.S. intelligence community ... join our leadership team,” said John Younger, founder of Accolo. “We are growing ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/15/2016)... 15, 2016 --> ... Transparency Market Research "Digital Door Lock Systems Market - Global ... 2023," the global digital door lock systems market in terms ... and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 31.8% ... and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the world and high industrial ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... 11, 2016 --> ... report "Image Recognition Market by Technology (Pattern Recognition), by ... by Deployment Type (On-Premises and Cloud), by Industry Vertical ... by MarketsandMarkets, the global market is expected to grow ... Billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 19.1%. ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... GARDENS, Fla. , March 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... management authentication and enrollment solutions, today announced the ... DigitalPersona ® Altus multi-factor authentication platform. ... and InfoSec managers to step-up security where it,s ... Washington, DC . ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):