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links: Otmar Schmid | rechts: Ali Doryab
Photo: Matthias Wjst & Michael Haggenmueller

BMBF Grant for Mini-Lung-Model to Predict the Inhalation of Substances

Awards & Grants, Environmental Health, LHI,

How can we predict the distribution of inhaled medical substances on the human body? And how can we do so with alternative methods without animal testing?

Inhaled medical substances for the treatment of lung diseases are intended for accumulation in the lung. However, a certain fraction of the drug may also reach secondary organs via the blood, which may result in inadvertent side effects. By using a patented mini-lung-model, Helmholtz Munich researchers study the clinically observed transport of inhaled medical substances from the lung to the blood, often referred to as pharmacokinetics. To support the development of such novel methods, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has given the research grant KLIMA to Otmar Schmid and Ali Doryab from the group "Pulmonary Aerosol Delivery" at the Helmholtz Munich Institute of Lung Health and Immunity (LHI<link>)</link><>, </link>together with colleagues from Würzburg University Hospital, LMU Klinikum Munich, and VITROCELL Systems GmbH. 

The funding was approved under the 3R call for “Alternative methods to animal testing” to support translation of the Helmholtz-patented CIVIC/BETA mini-lung technology into a commercially available product. The computer-enhanced (in silico), cell-based in vitro method could contribute to the replacement of animal experiments required for the development of novel inhaled drugs.

Around 1,000,000 € are available for the two-year project, which will be coordinated by the Schmid lab at LHI, Helmholtz Munich.

Dr. Otmar Schmid: „Each newly approved inhaled drug must be evaluated for its pharmacokinetics, in order to minimize potential side effects in other, secondary organs. With our in vitro method for direct measurement of drug transport from the lungs into the blood, the predictive power of currently available computer models of pharmacokinetics can be significantly improved, thus reducing the risk of unexpected side effects.“

Dr. Ali Doryab: „We aim to improve the translation of pre-clinical pulmonary studies of inhaled drugs to clinical outcomes. We also plan to reduce/replace animal models in pre-clinical studies leveraging our human-based breathing in vitro mini-lung model.“