Nanoparticle genotoxicity screening models using lab-on-a-chip technology
The use of nanomaterials, and in particular nanoparticles, is predicated on the substantial benefits of nanotechnology. Nanoparticles have significant and growing economic and scientific impacts and have applications in many areas ranging from electronics to environmental remediation to medical healthcare and diagnostics. Nanoparticles are also at the forefront of medical research, owing to the enhanced optical, chemical, and physical properties exhibited at the nanoscale. At the same time, industrial production for non-medical applications including catalysts, sensors, coatings and cosmetics is increasing at a staggering rate. However, there is mounting concern over the safety of nanoparticles in the context of occupational, consumer and environmental exposures. A comprehensive understanding of the health effects of nanoparticles in common use is currently lacking but urgently needed.
The proposed study aims to screen for cancer hazard, by investigating the genotoxicity of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) priority-listed nanoparticle formulations with the use of high-throughput lab-on-a-chip technology. This involves a lymphocyte-sorting microarray platform. The key hypothesis is that cytotoxicity and genetic damage caused by nanoparticles occurs in specific subsets of lymphocytes and is not uniformly distributed across all subsets. Determining the exact location and extent of genetic damage will provide new insight into the mechanisms of nanotoxicity and elucidate the cellular responses, indicating potential long-term effects caused by exposure.