A paper published by ACS Science Central this week entitled 'Biological Responses to Engineered Nanomaterials: Needs for the Next Decade' outlines in a comprehensive and concise manner four research needs in our strive for sustainable nanotechnology. These include:
1. Nanomaterial characterisation in real ('dynamic, complex') environments.
2. Real time measurements of nano-bio interactions
3. Elucidation of nanomaterials modes of action in living systems
4. In silico methods (computation and simulation) to provide information on dynamics of nanomaterials in complex environments .
To quote 'Over 50,000 studies have now been published on the interaction of nanomaterials, both organic and inorganic, with cultured cells and whole organisms......these studies provide a plethora of data that inform us of potential mechanistic interactions of nanoparticles with cells. However, these studies have covered dozens of different cell lines, either established or primary; the time of nanomaterial exposure ranges from minutes to days; the nanomaterial doses applied can differ by 6 orders of magnitude, which can dramatically impact the molecular responses instigated in a system and the ultimate consequence of the exposure. Therefore, stating general conclusions about chemical, let alone nanomaterial, effects on living cells becomes difficult, complicating attempts to extrapolate from cellular data to whole organisms. Indeed, it is rare that a clear molecular pathway from nanomaterial to cellular response can be constructed. Yet, such molecular pathways, if properly understood, could serve as a means to predict the future impact of nanomaterials on living systems.....'
Peer review: a flawed process at the heart of science and journals. The website Retraction Watch had an interesting post regarding 64 papers that have been retracted by Springer due to problems with the peer review process. No doubt this will have knock on effects in weeks to come. The website makes for some very interesting reading and is a must add to your daily website checklist! The very need for such a website points shows the defects with the current peer review process - bring on version 2.0!