ICF-BSE Fellows Session, WBC-Montreal 2016
Wednesday May 18th, 2016

“Is Nanotechnology More Hype Than Hope?”

Speakers: Joelle Amedee, Antonietta Gatti, John Hunt, John Kao, Michael Sefton, Liping Tang”
Moderator: Joachim Kohn

The “Special Fellows Session” is organized by the International College of Fellows in Biomaterials Science and Engineering (ICF-BSE). Special Fellows Sessions explore pertinent and sometimes controversial topics in a ‘debate’ format. Here, a group of six prominent Fellows will debate the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the development of nanotechnology in medicine using evidence-based arguments. While discussions of nanotechnology often expand to include applications in energy, electronics, cosmetics, food, and the short and long-term environmental impact of these particles, this debate will focus mostly on the medical applications of nanoparticles and nanostructured surfaces. Three Fellows will argue that Nanotechnology is ‘more hype than hope’, meaning that so far, the investment of resources into the development of medically-related nanotechnologies has not produced significant results in terms of improved medicines, medicinal delivery systems or diagnostic improvements, and indeed, that nanoparticles may be creating previously unrecognized pathology in biological systems. Three Fellows will argue against this premise and support the advancement of nanotechnology in medicine. Specific arguments demonstrating advancements in nanoparticles and nano-structured surfaces will include innovations in diagnostic imaging, improved control of biological response to medical treatments, and enhanced matrix and scaffold design at the nanoscale.

Previous “Special Fellows Sessions” examined the utility of animal experiments (WBC Amsterdam, 2008), explored whether we will ever be able to regenerate a complete human arm (WBC Chengdu, 2012), looked at the tension between basic research and translational research (ESB Liverpool, 2014), the competition between material science approaches and biology-based approaches in developing the next generation of regenerative therapies (US Society for Biomaterials, Charlotte NC, 2015), and asked if biomaterials education is ready for the challenges of the future (ESB Krakow, 2015).