Pulmonary Aerosol Delivery

Key Questions:

  • How can we improve aerosolized drug delivery to the lung in both preclinical (cells, animal models) and clinical (human) settings?
  • How can we determine both dose and bioactivity of the pulmonary drug dose in real-time?
  • Can physiologically more realistic cell-based drug screening methods improve the predictive power of these tests for the efficacy of novel drugs in clinical settings?
  • How can inhaled drugs be targeted specifically to the site of interest (e.g. bronchial or alveolar region or specific cell types depending on disease type)? 


The objective of this research group is to translate new concepts of aerosol research, biotechnology and physics into technological advances facilitating the development of novel inhaled drugs for the treatment of lung diseases.

This includes the design and validation of systems for aerosolized drug delivery to pulmonary cells (in vitro) and to mouse models of disease (in vivo). Furthermore, methods for (real-time) in vivo monitoring of both delivered and bioactive pulmonary drug dose are developed. Currently, mainly optical imaging methods based on bioluminescence and fluorescence are examined.

Recently, the ALICE-CLOUD technology was introduced which combines ease-of-handling with rapid, efficient and accurate delivery of aerosolized drugs to cells cultured at air-liquid interface conditions. This technology, which has been licensed to Vitrocell systems (www.vitrocell.com), may pave the way for screening of inhalable drugs under physiologically more relevant and thus clinically more predictive conditions than the currently used submerged cell culture systems.

Cigarette smoke is one of the most relevant environmental factors for chronic lung diseases. Consequently, in vitro and in vivo exposure systems for cigarette smoke are developed and methods for dosimetric analysis of the cell-/tissue- delivered dose of cigarette smoke are developed.