Nanotechnology Research Ethics and Oversight

This 2-year project used breakthrough DNA nanotechnology to engineer and evaluate materials to address major health challenges and food system issues. We propose to use aptamer-amphiphiles as DNA nanotubes to target and treat Alzheimer’s disease and brain tumors, and as sensors to detect food allergens such as milk.
This project produced the first systematic and comprehensive recommendations on how to protect human participants in research on nanodiagnostics and nanotherapeutics, including drugs, devices, and gene therapy using nano-vectors. Research in nano-medicine is burgeoning, with research on human participants under way, but current research ethics and oversight have not yet adequately addressed key concerns including uncertainty about how to assess risks.
This project aimed to identify oversight models for nanotechnology by assessing 6 historical oversight models: for drugs, devices, gene transfer, genetically engineered organisms in the food supply, chemicals in the workplace, and chemicals in the environment. The project brought together a multidisciplinary group of Investigators and senior personnel from the University of Minnesota, with strengths in nanotechnology research and development, public policy, law, health, environment, economics, and bioethics and involves outside collaborators representing a range of perspectives.

Related Publications

Marquis J, Maurer-Jones MA, Ersin OH, Lin YS, Haynes CL. The Bench Scientist's Perspective on the Unique Considerations in Nanoparticle Regulation. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2011;13(4):1389-1400. Download PDF (610.6 KB)
Koolage WJ, Hall R. Chemical Action: What Is It, and Why Does It Really Matter?. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2011;13(4):1401-1417. Download PDF (219.14 KB)
Howard J. Dynamic Oversight: Implementation Gaps and Challenges. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2011;13(4):1427-1434. Download PDF (158.77 KB)
Bosso C, DeLeo RA, Kay WD. Reinventing Oversight in the Twenty-First Century: The Question of Capacity. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2011;13(4):1435-1448. Download PDF (199.78 KB)
Beaudrie CEH, Kandlikar M. Horses for Courses: Risk Information and Decision Making in the Regulation of Nanomaterials. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2011;13(4):1477-1488. Download PDF (324.31 KB)
Marchant GE, White A. An International Nanoscience Advisory Board to Improve and Harmonize Nanotechnology Oversight. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2011;13(4):1489-1498. Download PDF (164.88 KB)
Hoerr RA. Regulatory Uncertainty and the Associated Business Risk for Emerging Technologies. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2011;13(4):1513-1520. Download PDF (187.6 KB)
Priest SH, Greenhalgh T. Nanotechnology as an Experiment in Democracy: How Do Citizens Form Opinions About Technology and Policy?. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2011;13(4):1521-1531. Download PDF (181.23 KB)
Cobb MD. Creating Informed Public Opinion: Citizen Deliberation About Nanotechnologies for Human Enhancements. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2011;13(4):1533-1548. Download PDF (250.13 KB)
Kuzma J, Kuzhabekova A. Nanotechnology, Voluntary Oversight, and Corporate Social Performance: Does Company Size Matter?. Journal of Nanoparticle Research  2011;13(4):1499-1512. Download PDF (453.67 KB)
Johnson RS. Governing Nanobiotechnology: Lessons from Agricultural Biotechnology Regulation. Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2011;13(4):1467-1476. Download PDF (138.61 KB)
Paradise J, Wolf SM, Kuzma J, Ramachandran G, Kokkoli E. Symposium Introduction: The Challenge of Developing Oversight Approaches to Nanobiotechnology. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 2009;37(4):543-545. Download PDF (76.53 KB)