Microplastic Particles: A Hazard for Human Health?

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).


Interview Autoimmun Lifestyle: Dr. Verena Pichler

In this interview, Dr. Verena Pichler, discusses the growing concern surrounding microplastics in our environment and their impact on human health. Hosted by Alexandra from Autoimmun Lifestyle, Dr. Pichler shares insights from her work within the microONE project, focusing on recent findings about how micro- and nanoplastics can affect colorectal cancer cells and other health-related risks. The interview provides valuable information on where microplastics are found, how they enter our bodies, and offers practical advice on reducing personal exposure.

Click here to read the Article

Kronen Zeitung: Krebs bei Unter-50-Jährigen

Uncover the reasons behind the rising cancer rates among young people in this insightful article from the Kronen Zeitung. With an alarming nearly 80% increase in cancer diagnoses among those under 50, the piece investigates the potential role of microplastics as a contributing factor. Austrian researchers are examining whether microplastics influence the spread of cancer. Gain deeper insights into this concerning trend from experts such as our very own Lukas Kenner, from CBmed and the Medical University of Vienna.

Click here to read the Article

Chemosphere: Microplastics role in cell migration and distribution during cancer cell division

A recent study led by CBmed GmbH, in collaboration with the Medical University of Vienna and the Universität Wien, investigates the impact of micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) on cancer cells in the human gastrointestinal tract.

Published in Chemosphere, the findings highlight the critical need for continued investigation into the long-term effects of plastic pollution on human health.

Click here to read the Article

The 2nd Vienna Summit on Microplastics and Health

The 2nd Vienna Summit on Microplastics and Health happening on the 1st of December at the elegant Hotel Regina in Vienna promises to be a significant milestone in our mission to find out more about the impact of microplastics on human health. We have a dynamic lineup of expert speakers, engaging discussions, and networking opportunities that you won’t want to miss.

In addition to the summit, this event also serves as the annual consortium meeting for partners and board members of the CBmed microONE project. This meeting will provide a unique opportunity to review the progress we’ve made over the past year and plan future initiatives aimed at achieving the project’s goals.

Download the programme agenda to find out more: 2nd Vienna Summit Programme

Lukas Kenner, microONE scientific director, participated in a live TV show (ORF Studio 2, 26.April 2023) answering questions relating to microplastic and their potential hazards.

(available in German only)

Click here to view the Interview

credits: ORF Studio 2, 26.April 2023

microONE researchers reveal how micro- and nanoplastic particles (MNP) enter the brain.

Verena Kopatz (post-doc within CBmed’s microONE project), Verena Pichler (microONE project leader and associate professor at the University of Vienna), Oldamur Holloczki (professor for computational sciences and microONE associated partner at University of Debrecen, Hungary), Dick Vethaak (senior advisor; co-coordinator MOMENTUM, NL), Lukas Kenner (professor for pathology and microONE scientific director) and others recently published scientific results regarding the passage of MNP through the blood-brain-barrier. The full article can be found here. (Micro- and Nanoplastics Breach the Blood–Brain Barrier (BBB): Biomolecular Corona’s Role Revealed. Verena Kopatz, Kevin Wen, Tibor Kovács, Alison S. Keimowitz, Verena Pichler, Joachim Widder, Dick Vethaak, Oldamur Hollóczki, Lukas Kenner. doi: 10.3390/nano13081404)

Click here to view the Article

microONE Parlamentspräsentation 31.01.2023microONE 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?

Read More

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:


  • To investigate the interaction of MNP with drug targets and targeted drugs;



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

Consortium Partners: