PATROLS (Physiologically Anchored Tools for Realistic nanOmateriaL hazard aSsessment ) is an international project combining a team of academics, industrial scientists, government officials and risk assessors to deliver advanced and realistic tools and methods for nanomaterial safety assessment.
PATROLS, funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No 760813), will provide an innovative and effective set of laboratory techniques and computational tools to more reliably predict potential human and environmental hazards resulting from engineered nanomaterial (ENM) exposures. These tools will minimise the necessity of animal testing and will support future categorisation of ENMs in order to support safety frameworks.
To date, hazard assessment studies conducted on ENMs have focused on short-term, high-dose exposures. However, in reality, exposure to nanomaterials is long-term, repetitive and occurs at low doses.
2D cell monocultures are widely used in safety assessment for human health, however, these standard systems fail to represent the complex biological processes that occur within the human body. As a result animal models are relied upon to confirm the hazard data generated. Furthermore, environmental ENM hazard assessment is typically restricted to short-term exposures on a small selection of organisms which lacks environmental realism in terms of dose delivery, exposure duration and uptake through the food chain.
A similar problem exists in ENM ecotoxicity testing, which is typically restricted to short-term exposures on a small selection of organisms. In contrast, long-term, low-level exposure of ecosystems to ENM will be the reality for many environments. Current approaches lack environmental realism in terms of dose delivery, exposure duration and uptake through the food chain. The latter affects behaviour of top consumers by reducing their activity, feeding rate and changing species interactions
The PATROLS project is establishing a battery of innovative, next generation safety testing tools to more accurately predict the adverse effects caused by long-term ENM exposure in humans and the environment.
The project's aims are to develop:
- Realistic and predictive 3D tissue models of the lung, gastrointestinal tract and liver for ENM safety assessment, reducing the need for animal testing.
- Innovative methods for safety assessment in ecologically relevant test systems and organisms, selected according to their position in the food chain.
- Create robust computational methods for ENM exposure and dose modelling, as well as hazard prediction.
- Characterise ENMs under relevant experimental conditions dictated by the advanced human and environmental model development.
The Adolphe Merkle Institute is represented by Prof. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser, co-chair of the BioNanomaterials group, whose research project is focused on the development of complex 3D lung tissue models to help predict the long-term effects of inhaled nanomaterials.
For more information, please follow this link: PATROLS