September 23, 2017 |
Asthma Inhalers Could Become More Effective
July 24, 2013  | 
Clayton, AU - Asthma inhalers could soon become more effective thanks to a clever new way of manufacturing the particles they deliver.

The current estimate of 193 million people that suffer from asthma worldwide are heavily reliant on inhalers to alleviate their symptoms, yet current inhaler designs and the typical size range of particles means that a large proportion of the medication propelled into a patient’s throat remains there. Only a fraction reaches the lungs. 

This could all change thanks to Dr. Meng Wai Woo and the department of chemical engineering at Monash University in Australia, who have developed a new way of manufacturing the particles known as anti-solvent vapour precipitation. This method, uses ethanol to dehydrate droplets, and results in super-small particles of uniform size.

The ultrafine uniform particles - smaller than a micron (thousandth of a millimetre) in diameter - are much smaller than those produced by conventional dehydrating mechanisms, which are limited by the size of the atomised droplet.  This ensures that fewer drug particles get stuck in the throat while more can reach the lower regions of the lungs. 

The Monash University chemical engeneers are also using the new manufacturing method on protein-based medicines which may improve drug delivery taken orally. 

David Brown, chief executive of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) said: “This is excellent news from the chemical engineering team at Monash and another great example of how chemical engineers are trying to improve the quality of life of millions of people across the world. 

“There will be huge interest in this new technology around the world with its potential to alleviate the debilitating and often life threatening effects caused by asthma,” said Brown.

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