22 May 2013
Novel saltwater treatment device
Cambridge Consultants develops innovative nebuliser to treat cystic fibrosis
Observing surfers with cystic fibrosis (CF) led scientists to discover that the inhaled mist of seawater has a therapeutic effect on the lung problems associated with the disease. Now the findings have been used by pharmaceutical company Parion Sciences and product development firm Cambridge Consultants in a revolutionary new aerosol delivery system. It enables CF sufferers to get the benefits of saltwater treatment in their own homes overnight while they sleep.
“We have seen evidence that routine exposure to salt water reduces the number of lung infections in CF patients and leads to fewer hospital admissions – but the challenge was to develop an optimal delivery system,” said Dr Richard Boucher, co-founder and chairman of Parion. “We enlisted Cambridge Consultants to design the system, given its track record of creating world firsts in drug delivery device development – and the results have exceeded our expectations.”
CF is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of more than 70,000 adults and children worldwide. Studies have shown that the inhalation of a hypertonic saltwater solution improves the condition of sufferers by rehydrating the layer of mucus film that lines their lungs. Cambridge Consultants conducted human-factor studies and applied its expertise in fluid dynamics to develop a system that could deliver an aerosol mist through the nose continuously for eight hours.
“We immediately recognised the potential of this project to transform the lives of CF patients,” said Matthew Allen, programme director at Cambridge Consultants. “The challenge was to build an aerosol nebuliser system that could be comfortably used by patients overnight – with the saline mist travelling down a long cannula to the sleeping patient without forming the large droplets that often occur in a standard nebuliser system. The size of the saline droplets is crucial to the success of the treatment as they need to be small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs.”
The tPAD (trans-nasal pulmonary aerosol delivery) device has been assessed in a clinical trial – and so greatly exceeded its predicted performance that additional devices have now been requested to support further clinical trials. The aim is to provide an easy and effective treatment system for CF patients that is suitable even for young children and allows the disease to be treated at the earliest possible stages.
Janet Allen, director of research at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said: "The Cystic Fibrosis Trust welcomes any new technology that could improve the health of people with CF. Early studies show that the tPAD should also reduce the burden of treatment for people with the condition. We look forward to further studies on the clinical effectiveness of hypertonic saline in patients using the tPAD."
Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of around 500 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, oil and gas, and wireless communications.
Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, a global leader in innovation and high-tech engineering consulting which supports companies in the creation and development of their new products and services. With a staff of about 23,000 employees in more than 20 countries, the Group generated revenues of €1.756bn in 2014. For more information, visit: www.altran.com
Parion Sciences is a privately-held, development-stage pharmaceutical company dedicated to the treatment of diseases resulting from deficiencies of the innate defenses provided by mucosal surfaces. Originally founded to develop proprietary, long-acting epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) blockers for the treatment of chronic pulmonary diseases, Parion’s expertise in epithelial cell biology has broadened to new targets and platforms for diseases wherein the ability to protect mucosal surfaces are compromised. The expanded portfolio includes multiple novel technologies in various stages of research and development that target pulmonary and ocular indications. For more information, visit: www.parion.com
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