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Scientists Uncover Nanoparticles’ Lung Cancer Risk

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http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/170 ... cer_risk/#

Scientists have now revealed how nanoparticles can cause lung damage. In the same research, they reported successfully being able to block the cancer-causing mechanism.

Nanotechnology is a growing sector of research that involves the control of atoms and molecules to create new materials, including many that could have medical applications. Nanotechnology, as an industry, is expected to gain an annual market of about $1 trillion by 2015, researchers said in the June 11 issue of the Journal of Molecular Cell Biology.

Nanoparticles have unusual physical, chemical, and biological properties which scientists hope will be able to improve the effectiveness of drugs and gene therapy.

However, there are concerns that the science has underlying toxicity, including lung damage. Although nanotechnology had been traced to lung damage, scientists had been unsure as to how it causes it.

Chinese researchers discovered that ployamidoamine dendrimers (PAMAMs) – a class of nanoparticles being used in medicine – can result in lung damage by turning on the process of autophagic cell death.

Researchers found that by using an autophagy inhibitor, the cell death was counteracted in mice.

"This provides us with a promising lead for developing strategies to prevent lung damage caused by nanoparticles,” said the study's leader, Dr. Chengyu Jiang, a molecular biologist at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing, China.

“Nanomedicine holds extraordinary promise, particularly for diseases such as cancer and viral infections, but safety concerns have recently attracted great attention and with the technology evolving rapidly, we need to start finding ways now to protect workers and consumers from any toxic effects that might come with it."

"The idea is that, to increase the safety of nanomedicine, compounds could be developed that could either be incorporated into the nano product to protect against lung damage, or patients could be given pills to counteract the effects.”

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