Two partners from Schiff Hardin LLP’s Product Liability & Mass Torts Practice Group spoke about the future of mass tort litigation in the United States at the Lloyd’s Old Library in London on October 20, 2015.  Paul A. Scrudato and Edward Casmere discussed the state of mass tort litigation and its future with a group of London-based insurance professionals in the historic Old Library at Lloyds on Lime Street in London.  The topics included nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, e-cigarettes, wearable technology, and fracking.

Continue Reading Schiff Hardin Partners Present on the Future of Mass Tort Litigation at Lloyd’s Old Library in London

Yale researchers have uncovered a new technology that may revolutionize the use of metallic glass. By creating metallic glass at the nanoscale (“NMG”) using three-dimensional fabricating technology, these researchers illustrate how manufacturers can reap the benefits of metallic glass, like the complete customization of its chemical properties, without the pitfalls they encountered in past applications, including molding degradation and unstable manufacturing processes.
Continue Reading The Third Dimension: Nanoarchitectured Metallic Glass Creates Diverse Manufacturing Possibilities

Noting that the result is preliminary and must be evaluated in clinical trials, Australian researchers working with the Asbestos Disease Research Institute published a case report announcing significant improvement for a pleural mesothelioma patient treated with microRNA therapy.  The results were reported in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Continue Reading MicroRNA Therapy Delivers Positive Result in Early Mesothelioma Treatment Test

Researchers are continuing to investigate how the shape and size of carbon nanotubes (CNT) affect the pulmonary systems of mice over time.  To answer the question, researchers are depositing CNT of varying sizes, length, and thickness into the lungs of mice and assessing the cellular interactions at varying intervals.  Several recent papers have been published suggesting that the scientific community is progressing toward some answers.
Continue Reading The Shape and Size of Carbon Nanotubes Impact the Potential Biological Response

Imagine being able to accurately detect the existence and type of cancer at its earliest stages by a simple blood test.  Thanks to nanotechnology, that may be possible in the future.  In the December 2014 issue of Nature Nanotechnology, researchers affiliated with the Universidade de Sao Paulo and the IMM-Instituto de Microelectronica de Madrid report on their work with a biosensor using nanotechnology that “allows for ultralow concentrations of cancer biomarkers to be detected in blood.”
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Researchers have developed a small organic molecule that assembles into a porous structure and absorbs hydrocarbons and their derivatives, many of which are potent greenhouse gases.  The material is lightweight, as well as thermally and hydrolytically stable.  For anyone involved in the emission and capture of greenhouse gases, recent developments in nanotechnology, or just simply interested in the climate change issue, this new research represents a potentially groundbreaking development in the battle to combat greenhouse gases.

A University of Houston-led team conducted the research and published it last month in Nature Communications.   Titled Thermally robust and porous noncovalent organic framework with high affinity for fluorocarbons and CFCs, the study reports that the nanoporous structure can capture as much as 75% of its weight in hydrocarbons and fluorocarbons.
Continue Reading Nanomaterials Fight Ozone-Depleting Greenhouse Gases

New research suggests that nanoparticles may be effectively used to interfere with the expression of specific genes and provide targeted disease treatment.  A study published in Nature Nanotechnology reports on promising developments involving the use of nanoparticles in gene therapy.   Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Harvard Medical School, University of Colorado, and Technion Israel Institute of Technology published the study titled In vivo endothelial siRNA delivery using polymeric nanoparticles with low molecular weight. Nature Nanotechnology 9, 648–655 (2014).
Continue Reading Nanoparticles May Effectively Treat Diseases With Cell-Specific Therapy

Are carbon nanotubes helping to cause cancer, cure cancer, both, or neither?  Several years ago, carbon nanotubes shot to mainstream consciousness in large part due to concerns that they may present health risks similar to asbestos fibers.  A 2010 study published in The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health found that carbon nanotubes can induce apoptosis, DNA damage, and initiate biological responses.  In 2010, and again in 2013, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued a Current Intelligence Bulletin recommending exposure limits for carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers based on the concerns over possible adverse health effects.   A 2013 study, however, suggested that concerns about the similarities of bio-reactivity and pathogenicity between asbestos fibers and carbon nanotubes may be alleviated through modification of length and chemical modification of the nanotube surface.
Continue Reading Carbon Nanotubes and Cancer: Potential Cause or Cure?

The United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has issued three final guidance documents and one draft guidance for the development of nanotechnology products.  The final guidance documents address 1) the FDA’s overall approach for all of the products that it regulates; 2) the effects of significant manufacturing process changes and the safety and regulatory status of food ingredients and food contact substances; and 3) the safety of nanomaterials in cosmetic products. The draft guidance covers the use of nanomaterials in food for animals.
Continue Reading USFDA Issues Guidance Documents For Nanotechnology Products