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Nanotechnology and human health: risks and benefits

Authors

  • Anna Giulia Cattaneo,

    1. Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Sciences, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy
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  • Rosalba Gornati,

    1. Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Sciences, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy
    2. ‘Protein Factory’, Interuniversity Center of the Politecnico di Milano and University of Insubria, Milan, Italy
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  • Enrico Sabbioni,

    1. Aging Research Centre, ‘G. d'Annunzio’ University Foundation, Chieti, Italy
    2. ECSIN – European Center for the Sustainable Impact of Nanotechnology, Veneto Nanotech Scpa, Rovigo, Italy
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  • Maurizio Chiriva-Internati,

    1. Division of Oncology and Hematology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas, USA
    2. Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health, Texas, USA
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  • Everardo Cobos,

    1. Division of Oncology and Hematology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas, USA
    2. Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health, Texas, USA
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  • Marjorie R. Jenkins,

    1. Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health, Texas, USA
    2. Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas, USA
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  • Giovanni Bernardini

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Sciences, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy
    2. ‘Protein Factory’, Interuniversity Center of the Politecnico di Milano and University of Insubria, Milan, Italy
    • Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Sciences, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy
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Abstract

Nanotechnology is expected to be promising in many fields of medical applications, mainly in cancer treatment. While a large number of very attractive exploitations open up for the clinics, regulatory agencies are very careful in admitting new nanomaterials for human use because of their potential toxicity. The very active research on new nanomaterials that are potentially useful in medicine has not been counterbalanced by an adequate knowledge of their pharmacokinetics and toxicity. The different nanocarriers used to transport and release the active molecules to the target tissues should be treated as additives, with potential side effects of themselves or by virtue of their dissolution or aggregation inside the body. Only recently has a systematic classification of nanomaterials been proposed, posing the basis for dedicated modeling at the nanoscale level. The use of in silico methods, such as nano-QSAR and PSAR, while highly desirable to expedite and rationalize the following stages of toxicological research, are not an alternative, but an introduction to mandatory experimental work. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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