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, 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.
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.
JRC scientists – in close collaboration with researchers from the French CEA and Irish Trinity College – have demonstrated some shortcomings of currently used test methods when applied to the characterisation and safety assessments of medical-nanoparticles. There is a need to further assess the suitability of existing standardised methods used for safety and quality evaluations, especially for the next generation of nanomedicines.
Reliable and reproducible characterisation of nanomaterials has become a key challenge to understanding nanomaterial biocompatibility, risk assessment and possible toxicity mechanisms. JRC scientists contributed to the assessment of the reproducibility of two popular nanoparticle characterisation techniques, dynamic light scattering and differential centrifugal sedimentation.
JRC scientists have developed the first comprehensive inventory of publicly available tools that are ready to be used for nanomaterial safety assessment.
Experts from several German and French organisations - including scientists from EFSA and the JRC - reviewed the current application of classical and new nanomaterials in the context of regulatory requirements and standardisation for chemicals, food and consumer products. They concluded that nanomaterial characterisation is still challenging and the major bottleneck of risk assessment and regulation.
The JRC organised a dedicated workshop to bridge scientific communities involved in progressing the regulatory science of nanomedicines. There was a general agreement by the participants that existing standards and guidance documents might not be always sufficient for the regulation of nanomedicines due to their particularities.