Asthma inhalers may benefit from new breakthrough

A team of chemical engineers at Monash University believe their work on lactose and whey particles in dairy manufacturing could have potential in the pharmaceutical industry.

They have developed a method of making ultrafine particles of uniform size, using ethanol to dehydrate droplets. It is known as antisolvent vapour precipitation.

The method has the potential to increase the amount of medication in inhalers reaching the lungs.
Team leader Dr Meng Wai Woo said the challenge was to adapt the process for drug particles.

“Ultrafine uniform particles will ensure that fewer drug particles get stuck in the throat while more can reach the lower regions of the lungs. Because we can now make the small particles more uniform, it means the inhalers will work better,” he said. 

“From a drug manufacturer’s perspective, this new approach can maintain the uniformity of the particle and yet potentially