Is microplastic carcinogenic?
The effects of micro- and nanoplastic particles (MNP) in the human body are being investigated in depth for the first time worldwide. From 2022 to 2025, research will be performed at CBmed together with international partners to elucidate potential health effects of microplastics.
Every person in developed countries currently ingests an average of five grams of plastics per week - that’s as much as a standard credit card. What these micro- and nanoplastic particles (MNP) do to the intestinal tract has hardly been investigated so far although initial research results indicate that MNP pose a health risk. ‘microONE’ , a research project which will run until 2025 with a project volume of around four million euros and more than 20 national and international partner organizations, aims to provide scientifically sound answers to this pressing question.
Prof. Wolfgang Wadsak PhD , general manager microONE : “The impact of this research project is enormous, because in the end we want to find out whether certain microplastic particles lead, for example, to the development or to an increase in the aggressiveness of colon cancer or influence the microbiome. Based on these findings, we may have to change the use of plastics in food packaging. With this project, we can initiate changes worldwide as a frontrunner together with key international partners.”
Prof. Lukas Kenner MD , scientific lead microONE , on the scientific focus: ” microONE will investigate the accumulation of MNP in the human body and also find out whether they contribute to carcinogenesis or even metastasis in the human body.”
Colorectal cancer (CRC) was chosen as a model system because the majority of MNP uptake occurs through the gastrointestinal tract with CRC being the most prominent variant. Research also includes the potential impact of MNP on the gut microbiome.