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The projects has the main objective to go beyond the state of the art of the current nanomaterials risk management measures by promoting a "Safety by Design" approach towards a safe and sustainable management of nanomaterials. The R&D activity will deal with: 5 target anomaterials (NMs): ZrO2, polyamide, TiO2, Ag, C 3 structures: nanoparticles, nanofibers, nanotubes 6 processing lines identified with different industrial sectors where integrating the proposed strategies 2 exposure scenarios: at lab scale (off-line) and at pilot scale (on-site) Five "design option" based risk remediation strategies based on NMs surface engineering are proposed and integrated within manufacturing processing lines, becoming process extra-steps that are evaluated in terms of RISK and expected PERFORMANCES. The results will provide inputs for a COST-BENEFIT analysis and the development of a RISK INSURANCE MODEL exploitable by industrial sectors involved. Cost-effective tools for safer manufacturing processes will be provided in order to establish a primary prevention of potential risks that can occur during worker manufacturing or customer use. What we expect from the project results and from the strict relationship between projects funded under the same topic and those belonging to EU Nanosafety Cluster is the actual chance to improve the EU and international acceptance of safe nanotechnology products and processes.

Website Link: www.sanowork.eu


Unlike other nano-environmental, health and safety (EHS) projects advancing the understanding of the properties, interactions, fate, impacts and risks of nanomaterials, SUN was envisioned to walk down the road from scientific implications to industrial applications while at the same time inform regulatory oversight.The SUN research process integrates the bottom-up generation of nano-EHS data and methods with the top-down design of a Decision Support System (DSS) for practical use by industries and regulators.The SUN industrial partners will test the DSS against supply chains of real products. This validation will culminate in guidelines for safe nanoscale product and process design. In addition SUN will identify needs for future research and assign priorities for current regulation. We will work with major international stakeholders to implement the SUN results into practice and regulation.

Website Link: www.sun-fp7.eu


The BioElectricSurface team has been working with the aim to decrease patients’ trauma and the risk of death through a detailed understanding of nanoscale interactions of biological systems with biomaterials’ surfaces. In this preceding year the BioElectricSurface consortium has developed methods for electrical modifications of three leading biomaterials: hydroxyapatite (HA), polyurethane (PU) and Titanium dioxide (TiO2). Biological interactions with these electrically modified surfaces were also studied. Preliminary study showed a selective response of biological species such as antibodies and cells towards charged surfaces. The team is now developing techniques to further enhance this knowledge of biological interactions with charged surfaces and to exploit this knowledge in biomedical devices.

Biomaterials that are currently used in such devices, e.g. in cardiovascular and urinary stents and coatings in hip prosthesis, do not specifically address this interfacial phenomenon in device designs. A detailed knowledge of such interactions at the nanometre scale obtained from this project will not only produce a selective biological response but also pre-screen many inappropriate designs of biomedical devices long before any expensive animal or potentially risky clinical trials. The project thus explores the convergence of nanomanipulation and biophysical, biochemical and materials characterisation. The goal is to develop novel therapeutic devices in four specific biomedical applications: cardiovascular stents, urological stents, orthopaedic implants and grafts, and anti- microbial fabrics.

Website Link: www.bioelectricsurface.eu


The MINERVA (mid to near infrared spectroscopy for improved medical diagnostics) project is funded with €7.3m under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-ICT) and runs from November 2012 until October 2016. The overall project cost €10.6m. It brings together thirteen partners from across Europe with the common objective of developing mid-infrared (mid-IR) technology to improve the early diagnosis of cancer.The MINERVA mid-IR range (1.5 to 12 μm) is rich in spectroscopic absorption of biomolecules such as fats, proteins and carbohydrates. In particular it has been shown that, by using the latest data analysis techniques, this spectral region can be used to identify the presence of early cancer. Currently there is a lack of practical sources and components for this spectral region, and so these mid-IR diagnostic techniques are restricted to laboratory demonstrations. MINERVA aims to develop fibre, lasers and broadband sources, components, modulators and detectors to access this important part of the spectrum. In parallel it will identify analytical techniques using the new photonic hardware to improve early skin cancer diagnosis and the rapid and automatic assessment of biopsy samples using a microscope.

Website Link: www.minerva-project.eu