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Delivering Drug to Lungs Directly Now Possible: Researchers


A small liquid plug in the bronchus is manipulated by air ventilation to deliver a drug into the most distant alveoli. —Image courtesy of Jinho Kim

In a new method, researchers have shown that lung-related diseases can be tackled by directly targeting to send micro volumes of drug into the lung.

The new method helps to instill micro-litres of liquid drug, distributed as a thin film in the lung airway, and absorbed locally.

“Our micro-volume liquid instillation approach will enable predictable drug concentrations at the target site, reducing the amount of drug required for effective disease treatment with significantly reduced side effects,” said one of the researchers Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, from the Columbia University.

Lung diseases include cystic fibrosis, bronchopneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (CDPD), and lung cancer, which are currently treated by oral intake of drugs or aerosol inhalation.

Since physicians give large amounts of the drug to reach lungs, often it leads to adverse effects to other organs in the body. With the new method of drug delivery directly to lungs, diseases could be more effectively treated, said the finding that has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Kim devised the approach for targeted delivery of micro-volumes of drugs with John O’Neill, a biomedical engineering PhD student.

This research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and others.

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