The University of Manchester

Initial human trial demonstrates the secure development of a groundbreaking ‘marvelous’ substance

A groundbreaking nanomaterial with immense potential to address global challenges may be further developed without posing a significant risk to human health, according to new research. The study reveals that inhaling a specific type of graphene, an incredibly thin and strong material, does not have any immediate negative effects on lung or cardiovascular function. This clinical trial, the first of its kind, administered controlled exposure of graphene oxide, a water-compatible form of the material, to volunteers. However, the researchers caution that more investigation is needed to determine the impact of higher doses or prolonged exposure to graphene oxide. Graphene, hailed as a “wonder” material, has attracted considerable interest worldwide for its potential applications in electronics, phone screens, clothing, paints, and water purification. It is also being explored in the field of targeted therapeutics for cancer and other medical conditions, as well as implantable devices and sensors. However, before medical use can occur, all nanomaterials require thorough testing for any potential adverse effects. The study, conducted by researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Manchester, involved 14 volunteers who were exposed to graphene through inhalation while cycling in a specially designed mobile chamber. Various physiological parameters, including lung function, blood pressure, blood clotting, and inflammation, were measured before and at regular intervals during exposure. Subsequent controlled exposures were carried out using a different size of graphene oxide or clean air for comparison. The study found no adverse effects on lung function, blood pressure, or most other biological indicators. There was a minor indication that the material may influence blood clotting, but the researchers emphasize that this effect was negligible. Dr. Mark Miller from the University of Edinburgh highlights the importance of manufacturing nanomaterials like graphene in a safe manner before widespread use. Professor Kostas Kostarelos from The University of Manchester and the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Barcelona describes this research as the first controlled study involving healthy individuals that demonstrates the potential for safely developing graphene oxide. Professor Bryan Williams, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer at the British Heart Foundation, expresses optimism about the implications of this discovery, suggesting that it could lead to the creation of innovative devices, treatment methods, and monitoring techniques. The study, funded by the British Heart Foundation and UKRI EPSRC, is published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button