We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
JRC scientists developed a quantitative method for measuring the surface energy and hydrophobicity of nanomaterials, as the knowledge about hydrophobicity is important when assessing potential risks of chemicals.
Hydrophobicity is an important parameter to determine for the risk assessment of chemicals and in particular of nanomaterials.
Because hydrophobicity plays a critical role in various biological processes such as:
JRC scientists contributed to a biokinetics study investigating the fate of inhaled gold nanoparticles in rats. This work will contribute to the understanding of risks related to possible inhalation exposure of workers, since gold nanostructures are frequently used as catalysts for production of plastic materials.
Gold nanostructures and especially gold nanoparticles hold great promise as catalysts in production processes and an increasing use in industrial processes can be anticipated. This may lead to increased professional and possibly environmental exposure.
JRC scientists have made an inventory of publicly available tools for the safety assessment of nanomaterials. This JRC-hosted dataset is a comprehensive source of information on existing tools and can be easily extended to accommodate new types of risk governance instruments.
JRC scientists explored the potential of encapsulation of alpha-particle emitters in nanoparticles - also referred to as alpha-particle nanogenerators - for safer radionuclide therapy. This is used in the fight against cancer for example.
Targeted radionuclide therapy in cancer treatment is a rapidly evolving field, as it delivers locally therapeutic radiation doses even in disseminated diseases where beam radio therapies are not applicable.
JRC scientists applied proteomics for the assessment of the potential human health risks of silver nanoparticles. The knowledge gained will contribute to the understanding of interaction of proteins with nanoparticles and supports the development of safe nanomaterials for use in consumer products or medical applications.
Silver nanoparticles are the most commercialized nanomaterials on the market with over 400 registered applications to date. It is however important to understand the fate and potential impacts on the biological systems.
JRC scientists, in close collaboration with several European research organisations, have developed highly specific gold nanoparticles targeting malignant blood cancer cells. Such targeted nanocarriers enable the delivery of otherwise toxic drugs into the leukaemia cells and they can also serve a better diagnosis and treatment of leukemia.
JRC scientists contributed to a study paving the way to an easy production of biohybrid photonic nanostructures by simply feeding diatoms microalgae with tailored photoactive molecules.
Biotechnological processes harnessing living organisms' metabolism are low‐cost routes to nanostructured materials for applications in photonics, electronics, and nanomedicine. Some living organisms have optimised their ability to generate photoactive components – essential for their survival – with macro- to nanoscale structures.
JRC scientists have developed methods for the in-depth characterization of multi-functionalized gold nanoparticles. This will support the development of advanced nanomaterials for health applications.
Multi-functionalized nanoparticles are of great interest for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. However, at the moment the characterization of complex, multifunctional nanoparticles is still challenging and this hampers the development of these advanced materials for health applications.
JRC scientists, in close collaboration with Norwegian SINTEF Institute for Materials and Chemistry, have conducted a survey among regulatory scientists of nine international competent authorities with the aim to obtain a general overview on the current status and regulatory needs of nanomedicines.
The outcome elucidated strong regional differences on the number of nanomedicines seeking for clinical trial approval or market authorisation and confirmed the need to harmonise information requirements and standardised methods addressing nanospecific properties of the product.
JRC scientists contributed to an intra-laboratory study comparing the outcome of analytical results using ultracentrifugation for the identification of nanomaterials. This is important for the registration or authorisation process related to the nanoparticle content of various chemicals, cosmetic or food products.
Judging whether a material is a nanomaterial for regulatory purposes in Europe is based on measuring the relative number of particles above and below a 100 nm threshold.