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Last update: May 2021

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Unité de Virologie et Immunologie Moléculaires

Nanotechnology in veterinary medicine

7 march 2013 - Académie Vétérinaire de France

The French Veterinary Academy held the first conference on nanotechnology in veterinary medicine on 7 March 2013. The conference, organised by Bernard Charley at the INRA centre in Jouy-en-Josas, was an opportunity to present groundbreaking research on the subject, identify promising areas to pursue and discuss the foreseeable impact on veterinarian pharmacology and diagnostic capabilities.

Nanotechnologies, or sciences and technologies at the nanoscale (i.e. one millionth of a millimetre), make use of various disciplines and are of particular interest to biologists due to their unique applications on a very small dimension. While nanotechnology is already being used in many areas, such as in micro-electronics, computers and optics, its application in biology and medicine – veterinary sciences in particular – is still very recent.

What does the veterinarian field have to gain?

The field of veterinarian sciences stands to gain as much as human medicine does: diagnostic tools (nanoprobes) that can be used in vitro and on living animals, targeted delivery of medications, therapeutic nanomaterials, vaccine antigen vectors, in vivo imagery, or traceability of products of animal origin.  The growing use of nanomaterials also reveals a need for risk assessment regarding the environment and even food.

Nanotechnologies: new means for drug and vaccine delivery to animals

Conference speakers discussed how viral nanoparticles – scaffolds for recombinant viral proteins – could be used as vaccine vectors. Topics dealt with nanomaterials used for drug delivery; nanoencapsulation of active substances, including via oral administration; improved solubility, bioavailability, and efficacy duration of active substances by reducing their toxicity threshold; and greater vaccine efficacy.

Risk assessment gains ground

As with any new technology, scientific progress must go hand-in-hand with risk assessment. Potential health and environmental risks were examined during the conference.  Any risk assessment should include the development of new measuring methods, standardisation initiatives, scientific monitoring and communication efforts.
The various talks demonstrated that more active research is necessary to apply this technology to the real needs of animal health by taking into account the economic constraints of this sector, to assess their effects on the target animal species and to thoroughly evaluate the risks for the environment and consumers.


Scientific contact(s):
Bernard Charley (+33 (0)1 34 65 26 20)
Molecular Virology and Immunology Unit

Press Relations: INRA News Office (+33 (0)1 42 75 91 86)

Associated Division(s): Animal Health

Associated Centre(s): Jouy-en-Josas

Author(s): INRA News office, translated by Teri Jones-Villeneuve

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