SafeNano is reporting that a new effort for global research for nanotoxicology issues was announced earlier this week at NanoTox 2008.  This new, international research alliance is tasked with the "creation of protocols for a limited number of toxicology tests on a small number of representative nanoparticles to enable a ‘round robin’ study in which identical results will be sought. This will involve at least the use of nanomaterials and biologicals from a common source and a single set of protocols."  The group is The International Alliance for NanoEHS Harmonization (IANH) and will include researchers from the United States, the European Union, and Japan.

The IANH lists two specific goals:

  1. Establish in vitro and in vivo nanomaterial NanoEHS testing protocols that are validated to produce the same results in multiple laboratories internationally.
  2. Identify nanoEHS in vitro testing protocols that correlate with results in animal test and may be predictive of in vivo effects.

In addition, the Alliance hopes to have the first round of testing done within a year. 

Identified members of the research alliance are (in addition to the four collaborators):

  • From Germany: Wolfgang Kreyling of the Helmholtz Institute;
  • From Ireland: Kenneth Dawson of the University College Dublin;
  • From Japan:
    • Gaku Ichihara of Nagoya University,
    • Kun’ichi Miyazawa of the National Institute for Materials Science;
  • From Switzerland: Harald Krug of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA);
  • From the United Kingdom: Vicki Stone of Napier University;
  • From the United States:
    • Vince Castranova, Mark Hoover, Dale Porter, and Aleksandr Stefaniak of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
    • Vicki Colvin of Rice University;
    • Fred Klaessig; Andre’ Nel of the University of California at Los Angeles;
    • Günter Oberdörster and Alison Elder of the University of Rochester;
    • Mark Wiesner of Duke University.

Kenneth Dawson, of University College Dublin and current chair of the IANH team stated, "When this team of scientists from Europe, the U.S., and Japan are able to get the same results for interactions of nanomaterials with biological organisms, then science and society can have higher confidence in the safety of these materials."

The information provided by this international group will be very interesting, indeed.  Everyone has admitted that the knowledge concerning the toxicity of nanomaterials is lacking, and this organization should go a long way to establishing the necessary baselines needed to begin reaching answers on the toxicological questions.  I believe forming this Alliance is a great idea and I eagerly anticipate their findings as their work gets underway.