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March 25, 2024

OECD Issues Report on First WPMN Workshop on NanoCarriers

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published the report of the first Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) workshop on NanoCarriers. The report states that NanoCarriers (nano-scaled structures loaded with an active substance) “promise benefits for various fields of applications but they also present great diversity in terms of chemical composition, structural features, and applications.” The June 14-15, 2023, workshop included governmental representatives, including regulators and policymakers, as well as experts with diverse backgrounds from industry and academia. The aims of the workshop were to discuss NanoCarriers used in different applications (cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and agricultural) and to use OECD’s Early Awareness and Action System for Advanced Materials (Early4AdMa) to identify knowledge gaps and signals of possible concerns regarding both their safety and their sustainability.

According to the report, based on the discussions and outcomes of the workshop, the following conclusions regarding needed actions can be derived:

  • With regard to the signals and open questions identified for NanoCarriers during the workshop, it is recommended that OECD’s WPMN obtain an overview about ongoing research activities and review how this support can fill data gaps, and by that, to substantiate the identified signals. WPMN should also prioritize which application areas, questions, and signals are of interest of WPMN to discuss further safety and sustainability of NanoCarriers and their applications; to promote closing information gaps, method development and harmonization, and establishment of assessment guidance and to initiate collaboration with committees depending on expertise and competence.
  • With respect to a possible future update of Early4AdMa system, it is recommended that OECD’s WPMN take up challenges, specific proposals for further questions, and ambiguities identified during the workshop on NanoCarriers; and identify and propose solutions for how to deal with questions that need to be answered in a differentiated way for the different building blocks of an advanced material to aid cases with similar challenges, as for NanoCarriers. For an overall assessment, the entirety of the advanced material should be assessed.
  • Regulation and policy should review affected regulatory frameworks and guidance for possible adaptation needs to cover appropriately NanoCarriers and amend them if necessary. Funding should be provided to close information gaps and to facilitate method development and harmonization by research projects.
  • Industry should contribute with their knowledge and expertise to close data gaps of various aspects and support method development and harmonization.
  • Academia should carry out research to provide answers to open questions, particularly to facilitate appropriate risk assessment of NanoCarriers and to help assess the sustainability of their whole life cycles. Furthermore, academia should participate in method development and harmonization.