microONE is a research project led by CBmed with a specific focus on the health effects of micro- and nanoplastic particles on human health, which is currently funded as a COMET module by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).
microONE is a reference project within the “Action Plan Microplastics 2022-2025” of the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology in Austria (available only in German).
microONE Ausstellung im neuen Parlament im Sinne des Aktionsplans Mikroplastik
Die Ausstellung zur Parlamentarischen Enquete mit Fokus auf Mikroplastik-Forschungsaktivitäten im neuen Parlament fand am 31. Jänner großen Anklang. Prof. Lukas Kenner und Prof. Verena Pichler haben stellvertretend für das gesamte CBmed microONE Team einen Einblick in das FFG-geförderte COMET Modul gegeben: microONE – Mikroplastikpartikel: Eine Gefahr für die menschliche Gesundheit?
‘Kleine Kugeln – große Wirkung?’ (‘small particles – large impact?’)
Interview with the microONE scientific lead on the potential impact of microplastics on the environment and human health
Carl von Rokitansky Prize awarded to Tanja Limberger
Tanja Limberger was awarded this year’s Carl von Rokitansky prize for her work on KMT2C mutations and their contribution to prostate cancer metastasis. The study, which was published in the prestigious journal “Molecular Cancer”, was carried out at the Department of Pathology of the Medical University of Vienna under the supervision of Lukas Kenner, as part of a project conducted by the Center for Biomarker Research in Medicine (CBmed GmbH), a COMET K1 centre funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).
Micro- and nanoplastic particles (MNP) have been found in recent years in all parts of the world and in various organisms. In the human body MNP have been detected e.g. in stool, placenta, kidney or lungs – not surprising considering that we consume on average up to 5 grams (!) of MNP per week. Until now, the health effects of this exposure to MNP are almost completely unexplored, especially regarding tumor development, growth and dissemination.
microONE was designed to fill this substantial knowledge gap within a multinational, multidisciplinary, cross-sectorial approach. It aims to provide scientific evidence on whether – and if so, how – different particles influence tumor development and spread by using colorectal cancer (CRC), one of the most frequent tumor entities and prone to contact with MNP in the gut, as an example.
Hence, major objectives of microONE are:
Briefly, interactions between MNP and primary tumor cells obtained directly from CRC patients will be explored, and a suitable medium-to-high-throughput method for the detection and characterization of MNP will be established and optimized. Supported by supercomputing, the MNP interactions with molecular targets (e.g. proteins) and targeted drugs (against CRC) will be simulated. The effects of exposure to MNP on the microbiome and possible ‘re-balancing’ effects of probiotics to MNP-induced changes will be explored. The application of labeled MNP in vitro and in vivo (specific tumor models) will help to determine the mechanisms how MNP influence cell growth, primary tumor formation and spontaneous metastasis. For the latter experiments, suitable primary, secondary and weathered MNP will be prepared and physico-chemically characterized. With the newly established analytics, tissue sections of CRC patients will be screened for MNP load in addition to standard immunohistochemical staining. Integrating these data will allow for direct assessment of molecular events and biological risk caused by plastic particles. MNP must be seen as a public health concern and it is important to identify actionable steps, identified in the course of this project, to prevent disease.
Many of the project parts are scientifically and partly also technologically uncharted territory and therefore bear a certain uncertainty concerning a successful conduction. On the other hand, the scientific evidence generated within microONE will certainly have far-reaching consequences for society and its approach to plastics.
General Manager microONE
Scientific Lead microONE