The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s online news features a May 21, 2014 article by Emily Chung regarding research from the University of Toronto that may enable a simple skin test for determining nanoparticle exposure,
Canadian researchers have developed the first test for exposure to nanoparticles — new chemical technology found in a huge range of consumer products — that could potentially be used on humans.
Warren Chan, a University of Toronto [U of T] chemistry professor, and his team developed the skin test after noticing that some mice changed colour and others became fluorescent (that is, they glowed when light of certain colours were shone on them) after being exposed to increasing levels of different kinds of nanoparticles. The mice were being used in research to develop cancer treatments involving nanoparticles.
There is some evidence that certain types and levels of exposure may be harmful to human health. But until now, it has been hard to link exposure to health effects, partly due to the challenge of measuring exposure.
“There’s no way to determine how much [sic] nanoparticles you’ve been exposed to,” said Chan in an interview with CBCNews.ca.
There was one way to measure nanoparticle exposure in mice — but it required the animals to be dead. At that point, they would be cut open and tests could be run on organs such as the liver and spleen where nanoparticles accumulate.
A May 14, 2014 article by Nancy Owano on phys.org provides more details (Note: Links have been removed),
They [researchers] found that different nanoparticles are visible through the skin under ambient or UV light. They found that after intravenous injection of fluorescent nanoparticles, they accumulate and can be observed through the skin. They also found that the concentration of these nanoparticles can be directly correlated to the injected dose and their accumulations in other organs.
In their discussion over selecting nanoparticles used in mouse skin, they said, “Gold nanoparticles are commonly used in molecular diagnostics and drug delivery applications. These nanomaterials were selected for our initial studies as they are easily synthesized, have a distinct ruby color and can be quantified by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES).”
Work involved in the study included designing and performing experiments, pathological analysis, and data analysis. Their discovery could be used to better predict how nanoparticles behave in the body.
Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,
Nanoparticle exposure in animals can be visualized in the skin and analysed via skin biopsy by Edward A. Sykes, Qin Dai, Kim M. Tsoi, David M. Hwang & Warren C. W. Chan. Nature Communications 5, Article number: 3796 doi:10.1038/ncomms4796 Published 13 May 2014
This paper is behind a paywall.
* Posting’s head changed from ‘Canadians and exposure to nanoparticles; to the more descriptive ‘Canadian researchers develop test for exposure to nanoparticles’., May 27, 2014.