Following on from the first two biennial meetings, which took place in Sicily and Sweden, the 3rd NanoSafety Forum for Young Scientists took place in Valletta, Malta, on 10th-11th September 2018, under the aegis of the EU NanoSafety Cluster and ACEnano project.
The e-infrastructure project OpenRiskNet developing a platform providing data and modelling tools for predictive toxicology and risk assessment and coordinated by DouglasConnect, is entering its second stage, in which the platform is made accessible to everyone. In the first phase, advanced concepts have been developed and implemented into the first version of the platform including building and deploying of virtual research environments (VREs), a reference environment accessible by everyone for testing, harmonized and partly semantically annotated data and modelling services, corresponding training material as well as seven risk assessment case studies, which are used to evaluate and optimize the infrastructure.
Nanomaterials are man-made materials of a size thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair. They have fascinated scientists and industry with their unique and unpredictable properties, which have given rise to an endless variety of new applications in every sector of technology and medicine. As a result, an ever-increasing number of nanomaterials are entering the market in everyday products spanning from healthcare and leisure to electronics, cosmetics and foodstuffs. However, the novelty in exploitable properties may be mirrored by new hazards and, in order to manage these, a well-founded and robust legislative framework that will ensure safe development of nano-enabled products is needed.
Between 500 and 2,000 nanomaterials (NMs) are expected to be placed on the EU market at volumes of at least 1 ton/year and are consequently affected by registration obligations under REACH and other legislations (e.g., for cosmetics). Testing of these NMs and updating the registration dossiers would entail costs of between €50 million and €315 million based on the proposed amendments to REACH guidelines for nanoforms. In silico approaches like QSAR, grouping or read-across, which are currently absent for NMs in large part as a result of data fragmentation and inaccessibility, would reduce this cost dramatically by removing the need for extensive laboratory and animal testing and would additionally improve our understanding of the biological and molecular mechanisms of toxicity of NMs. Douglas Connect will present at Nano Korea 2018 efforts for building a pan-European nanosafety knowledge infrastructure for organizing data, making it publicly accessible as well as integrating computational tools for risk assessment and decision support. Special focus will be on collection and management of data and experimental procedures annotated with rich metadata towards a complete characterization of the tested NM with respect to its physicochemical properties as well as human and environmental adversity.
This work was started in the eNanoMapper project delivering a nanomaterial ontology and a database concept and will be now continued in the NanoCommons and OpenRiskNet projects. Besides the successes in harmonization of data formats for standard methods, the ACEnano data warehouse concept will be presented as a specific example imposing high demands on the protocol and data management since early stages of method development and optimization without clear standard procedures have to be covered.