Treatments of many lung diseases could soon be a lot more effective as researchers have developed a new method that can target delivery of very small volumes of drugs into the lung.
The new approach may also lower the volume of drug needed for treatments and reduce their side effects.
In this new method, micro-litres of liquid containing a drug are instilled into the lung, distributed as a thin film in the predetermined region of the lung airway, and absorbed locally.
"We envision that 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, professor at the Columbia University in the US.
Lungs are susceptible to many diseases, including cystic fibrosis, bronchopneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer, that are currently treated by systemic application of drugs, by oral intake, or aerosol inhalation.
In order to achieve therapeutic levels at the pathological site, physicians need to deliver large amounts of the drug that may cause adverse effects to other organs in the body.
Lung diseases could be more effectively treated if the drug of choice could be delivered locally to the pathologic site in the lung, at the exact dose needed for the treatment.
The research was published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).