A project of the BMBF nanoCare funding programme

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Toxicological characterisation of nanomaterials for the diagnostic imaging in medicine




Overall findings from the project NanoMED (2010 - 2013)

The main task of the project NanoMed was to determine the internal exposure of novel (magnetic) nanoparticles which were specifically designed to have excellent imaging properties for a later usage in medical imaging procedures like computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Particular attention was also paid to the nanoparticles' behaviour at the blood-placenta barrier (BPB) and the blood-brain barrier (BBB) for in vitro and in vivo exposure scenarios. Since regulatory standards for the toxicity testing of nanoparticles were missing in general, all applied model test systems were systematically validated for a broad and standardised application.

The work plan included the following endpoints:

  • systematic determination of nanoparticle characteristics
  • development of a set of reference particles
  • interactions of nanoparticles with the blood-placenta barrier (BPB) and the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in in vitro und in vivo experiments
  • establishment of structure-activity relationships & dose-response relationships
  • risk analysis of nanoparticles
  • correlation of in vitro- and in vivo-tests
  • validation of model test systems
  • development of standard operation procedures (SOP)
  • development of a data base to collect and manage the results achieved


The project generated a collection of nanoparticles that were based on iron, gold and silver cores and then coated with various shell materials. Next those generated nanoparticles were identified that were suitable for biological applications due to their physical, chemical and imaging properties. With the help of these specifically designed and selected nanoparticles the NanoMed project was able to establish a quality-controlled test system to evaluate the toxicological properties of the nanoparticles, standard operation procedures (SOPs) were being prepared and reference particles selected. Based on these findings biologically relevant barriers were confronted in vitro and in vivo with the selected nanoparticles and the nanoparticle-tissue effects were measured with physical, chemical and immunohistochemical methods. The project NanoMed clearly demonstrated that the observed toxic effects from in vitro tests correlated well with those obtained during in vivo experiments making these predictable for some specifications. These results will lead to a substantial progress in developing nanoparticles specifically optimised for application in medical imaging. The comprehensive data collection of nanoparticles and their properties are organised and stored within a project data base and the main findings will be transferred in the Knowledge Base Nanomaterials – DaNa.



Projekt lead

Chemicell GmbH, Christian Bergemann




Duration : 01.09.2010 - 31.08.2013


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