About the Project
The production of many consumer products based on manufactured nanoparticles (NPs) has led to growing public and regulatory concern about the safety of nanomaterials. Since experimental toxicological testing of NPs is costly and time-consuming, it is necessary to develop a new research field based on knowledge, methods and tools to reach the goal of predictive nanotoxicology. The PreNanoTox consortium addresses three currently missing critical elements needed to develop a platform for predictive nanotoxicology: (1) There is a current lack of a unified large database, leading to our suggestion to form such database by applying cutting edge information extraction tools on a large repository of scientific articles; (2) There is a need for better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the primary interaction of NP with the cell membrane. It is suggested to apply appropriate theory and simulation assuming that the surface chemistry of a NP (affecting e.g. NP’s surface reactivity, hydrophobicity, or surface electrostatics) as well as other physical properties (e.g. size and shape) determine the extent of adsorption of NPs to a cell surface, leading eventually to an uptake of the NPs; (3) There is a need to extend the traditional Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship QSAR paradigm to the field of nanotoxicology. This will be carried out by linking appropriate NP descriptors, with emphasis on those which determine the extent of adsorption of NPs to cells, with biological responses. The PreNanoTox consortium is made up of four research groups (from three scientific organizations), which lead in information technology, soft matter modelling, computational chemistry and in-vitro toxicology, yielding a synergetic output.