A common terminology is essential in any field of science and technology for a mutual understanding among different communities of experts and regulators, harmonisation of policy actions, standardisation of quality procedures and experimental testing, and the communication to the general public. It also allows effective revision of information for policy making and optimises research fund allocation.
In particular, in emerging scientific fields with a high innovation potential, new terms, descriptions and definitions are quickly generated, which are then ambiguously used by stakeholders having diverse interests, coming from different scientific disciplines and/or from various regions. The application of nanotechnology in health -often called nanomedicine- is considered as such emerging and multidisciplinary field with a growing interest of various communities.
In order to support a better understanding of terms used in the regulatory domain, the Nanomedicines Working Group of the International Pharmaceutical Regulators Forum (IPRF) has prioritised the need to map, compile and discuss the currently used terminology of regulatory scientists coming from different geographic areas. The JRC has taken the lead to identify and compile frequently used terms in the field by using web crawling and text mining tools as well as the manual extraction of terms. Websites of 13 regulatory authorities and clinical trial registries globally involved in regulating nanomedicines have been crawled. The compilation and analysis of extracted terms demonstrated sectorial and geographical differences in the frequency and type of nanomedicine related terms used in a regulatory context. Finally 31 relevant and most frequently used terms deriving from various agencies have been compiled, discussed and analysed for their similarities and differences. These descriptions will support the development of harmonised use of terminology in the future.
The report provides necessary background information to advance the discussion among stakeholders. It will strengthen activities aiming to develop harmonised standards in the field of nanomedicine, which is an essential factor to stimulate innovation and industrial competitiveness.