Breathing in better

Researchers at Cambridge Consultants have developed a new inhaler concept dubbed ‘Soft Plume’ that is designed to enhance drug deposition to the lungs. It uses complex aerodynamics to create a plume effect by reducing the spray velocity, effectively delivering a gentle mist to the lungs.

The device allows manufacture using simple plastic moulding techniques, resulting in a predicted manufactured cost of only 18 pence (approx 0.27 Euro.). Whilst a low velocity inhaler device already exists on the market, the CCL design offers the benefit of being almost ten times cheaper to manufacture and does not require battery power to operate.

CCL’s ‘Soft Plume’ concept also has the added benefit of using standard MDI canisters, and has a built in dose counter.

The plume from CCL’s new inhaler travels at less than 1m/s compared with over 50m/s for a conventional metered dose inhaler. There are obvious patient benefits with the ‘Soft Plume’ device, including less requirement for the patient to co-ordinate depressing the canister and inhaling at the same time, thereby making it particularly beneficial to children, the elderly and those less dextrous.

CCL’s concept has been shown to reduce oropharyngeal (throat & mouth) deposition to less than 16%. This compares to approximately 80% in most current ‘press and breath’ inhalers.

Significantly reduced deposition will benefit the pulmonary delivery of the new stream of high toxicity compounds emerging on the market. The pulmonary route is ideal for treating lung diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive disease), asthma, lung infection and cystic fibrosis as it delivers the drug straight to the site for treatment.