Nano-particle research will benefit inhaler-users

Apr 29, 2005

Patients suffering from conditions as diverse as asthma and diabetes could benefit from research at Cardiff University to improve the effectiveness of drugs taken through spray inhalers.
Scientists in the Welsh School of Pharmacy are working on new nano-particle drug formulations for inhalers, and enhancers to improve the effectiveness of proteins, such as insulin, delivered to the lung.

"Drugs delivered through inhalers are usually either in a suspension (as particles dispersed in liquid), or in a solution (when the drug is dissolved in the liquid)," explained Dr James Birchall. "However, there are problems with both methods - a suspension can lead to sediment in the inhaler and less of the drug reaching the target area of the lung, while solutions present problems in dissolving the drug in the inhaler propellant liquid and can make the drug itself less stable."

The Cardiff team's approach is to prepare the drug in nano-particle form – ensuring the correct dosage reaches the lung and the drug retains its stability, and providing the possibility of slowing the release of the drug in the lung for longer therapeutic effect.

This could lead to the possibility of more drugs being administered effectively by inhaler, rather than by tablet or injection.

Meanwhile, the team is also developing a process which uses a naturally occurring substance to enhance the absorption of insulin. Initial studies suggest insulin is absorbed three to four times more effectively by this process.

Now Dr Birchall and his colleague Dr Glyn Taylor of The Pulmonary Research Group aim to combine the two innovations to prolong and maximise the absorption effect.

"These two technologies could make a huge improvement in the effectiveness of spray inhalers for users suffering from a wide range of illnesses and conditions," said Dr Birchall.

Source: Cardiff University

Explore further: Tough foam from tiny sheets

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The promise and peril of nanotechnology

Mar 26, 2014

Scientists at Northwestern University have found a way to detect metastatic breast cancer by arranging strands of DNA into spherical shapes and using them to cover a tiny particle of gold, creating a "nano-flare" ...

Fat gives nanoparticles a fighting chance

Jul 27, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Inhalable and thermo-responsive, fat-encased nanoparticles have been developed by researchers at the University of Sydney as possible treatment for lung cancer.

Nanoparticles: Big potential or big threat?

Jul 11, 2012

Zinc oxide would be the perfect sunscreen ingredient if the resulting product didn't look quite so silly. Thick, white and pasty, it was once seen mostly on lifeguards, surfers and others who needed serious sun protection.

Recommended for you

Tough foam from tiny sheets

4 hours ago

Tough, ultralight foam of atom-thick sheets can be made to any size and shape through a chemical process invented at Rice University.

Graphene surfaces on photonic racetracks

Jul 28, 2014

In an article published in Optics Express, scientists from The University of Manchester describe how graphene can be wrapped around a silicon wire, or waveguide, and modify the transmission of light through it.

Simulating the invisible

Jul 28, 2014

Panagiotis Grammatikopoulos in the OIST Nanoparticles by Design Unit simulates the interactions of particles that are too small to see, and too complicated to visualize. In order to study the particles' behavior, he uses ...

Building 'invisible' materials with light

Jul 28, 2014

A new method of building materials using light, developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, could one day enable technologies that are often considered the realm of science fiction, such as invisibility ...

User comments : 0