In a well meaning editorial for the current ACS Nano issue, Helmuth Möhwald and Paul S. Weiss make important comments about hype and its potential to damage science with false promises which are never delivered. It is a regular theme of this blog, including this post about an ACS press release. Helmuth and Paul make an analogy with a spring where the “acceleration forces” (hype or excessive enthusiam) eventually results in collapse in the absence of “friction” (paying attention to the problems to be solved):
How about bubbles in nanoscience and nanotechnology? We all have visions and expectations for our work and field, so the “acceleration force” is huge. […]
Many scientific articles, including reviews, are written as if funding agencies were the audience. There is typically great potential, a problem that is solved, but little mention of further problems to be addressed. These issues are the friction, which are often kept low, perhaps to please those who could support further work. Note that we specifically ask our authors to lay out challenges and opportunities ahead, in research articles and also especially in Perspective, Nano Focus, and Review articles. We feel that these levels of realism and self-criticism are essential for our field and for our multidisciplinary audience. It is one of the contributions of our editors, advisory board, authors, referees, and readers to prevent uncontrolled expansion of hype and bursting bubbles. This issue was discussed among global leaders in nanoscience and nanotechnology this fall,(7)with the consensus that it is also important to edit the press releases that are disseminated about our work. These pieces seek to capture public attention but must honestly represent our work and our field (how many times has cancer been cured in press releases?).
I could hardly say it better. Well, maybe I could. Anyway.
Now, guess where these quotes come from:
As the first example, in vivo formation of tumor-specific ICG-doped nanofiber for PTT theranostics owns the immense potential for clinical translation of personalized nanomedicine with targeted drug delivery as well as for cancer theranostics.
The multipronged features of light-triggered micelles represent a versatile synergistic approach for the ablation of resistant tumor in the field of cancer therapy.
These findings suggested that when loaded with SNNP, 5-FU has better anti-tumor efficacy and lower side effects, indicating that SNNP can efficiently act as a readily accessible, robust, biocompatible and low-toxic nanobiomaterial which may find wide therapeutic applications clinically in the future.
The results demonstrate the clinical potentials of RNA nanotechnology based platform to deliver miRNA based therapeutics for cancer treatment.
More importantly, the as-prepared NPs show high cancer therapeutic efficiency both in vitro and in vivo. We expect that the present real-time self-monitored and self-delivered DDS with multiple-therapeutic and multiple-fluorescent ability will have broad applications in future cancer therapy.
Did you guess? Abstracts from the same issue of ACS Nano.
— Piotr Nowak (@pnowak87) November 3, 2015