Animal-free method predicts nanoparticle toxicity for safer industrial materials
Our lungs are exposed to a multitude of hazardous airborne particles on a daily basis. Nanoparticles, due to their small size, may reach the sensitive alveolar region of the human lung and trigger inflammation even after a single inhalation leading to severe diseases such as heart disease, brain damage and lung cancer for prolonged exposure. In manufacturing, toxic nanoparticles may be released into the environment during the production, processing, degradation or combustion of materials. Despite advances in models for nanotoxicology, currently neither in vitro nor in silico testing tools can reliably predict adverse outcomes or replace in vivo testing. In order to facilitate the introduction of safer materials into our lives, novel testing strategies are needed to predict the potential toxicity of industrial nanoparticles before and during the manufacturing process.
Currently, safety testing relies heavily on animal studies. While animal experimentation is still indispensable for mechanistic and chronic toxicological studies, they are less suited for predictive tests within a safe-by-design production of new materials. This study introduces an alternative animal-free testing strategy, capable for high-throughput testing and connectable with in silico modelling.