Improving drug delivery through medical imaging
16 May 2006
People suffering from asthma usually administer their own medication through an aerosol: they pop the canister and breathe in deeply. But exactly where the drugs end up in the body, including the lungs, remains largely unknown.
Such information is critical to the pharmaceutical industry in its search for more effective forms of medicine. "If a pharmaceutical company is developing a product, it wants to know if it really works," explained Associate Professor Kim Chan, from the University's Faculty of Pharmacy.
University researchers who have established a medical imaging service company - PharmaScint - capable of providing and analysing three dimensional imaging studies of drug delivery and distribution.
Associate Professor Kim Chan uses medical imaging to study drug delivery in the body, including the lungs.
Professor Chan, a specialist in inhalation drug delivery, has gathered experts in nuclear medicine and lung imaging including Associate Professor Dale Bailey from the School of Medical Radiation Sciences and Associate Professor Paul Roach from the Faculty of Medicine. Together they won the University's 2005 Innovation Challenge Grand Prize worth $20,000.
Professor Chan has also been successful in securing an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant worth more than $450,000 to work with a Singapore-based company, NanoMaterials Technology Pte Ltd. Together they are exploring how breakthroughs in nanoparticle research might be used in drug delivery by inhalation aerosols.
"The particles in normal asthma drugs are around one millionth of a metre in diameter. If we are able to manufacture smaller particles and use them in inhalation aerosols, they will behave more like a gas; they will move rapidly around the lungs, reaching deeper airways and potentially depositing the drugs more quickly and with better distribution," he explained.
Contact: Kate Rossmanith
Phone: 02 9351 3168