Biological impact assessment of nanomaterial used in nanomedicine. introduction to the NanoTEST project.
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Therapeutic nanoparticles (NPs) are used in nanomedicine as drug carriers or imaging agents, providing increased selectivity/specificity for diseased tissues. The first NPs in nanomedicine were developed for increasing the efficacy of known drugs displaying dose-limiting toxicity and poor bioavailability and for enhancing disease detection. Nanotechnologies have gained much interest owing to their huge potential for applications in industry and medicine. It is necessary to ensure and control the biocompatibility of the components of therapeutic NPs to guarantee that intrinsic toxicity does not overtake the benefits. In addition to monitoring their toxicity in vitro, in vivo and in silico, it is also necessary to understand their distribution in the human body, their biodegradation and excretion routes and dispersion in the environment. Therefore, a deep understanding of their interactions with living tissues and of their possible effects in the human (and animal) body is required for the safe use of nanoparticulate formulations. Obtaining this information was the main aim of the NanoTEST project, and the goals of the reports collected together in this special issue are to summarise the observations and results obtained by the participating research teams and to provide methodological tools for evaluating the biological impact of NPs.
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