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R01 grant renewal awarded to pharmacy-engineering research team

Feb. 14, 2017
By Cynthia McMullen, VCU School of Pharmacy

VCU School of Engineering professor P. Worth Longest, Ph.D., and VCU School of Pharmacy professor Michael Hindle, Ph.D., have received a $2.4 million, four-year renewal of a National Institutes of Health grant originally awarded in 2011.

The original and current R01 grants were provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. As co-principal investigators, Hindle and Longest have been using computational fluid dynamics simulations and realistic in vitro airway models to find ways to improve aerosol drug delivery during various forms of non-invasive ventilation (respiratory support provided via a mask or nasal prongs).

Administering aerosols to the lungs via the nose is convenient for patients receiving noninvasive ventilation. But as the aerosol is delivered to its destination in the lungs, medication can be lost and wasted, drug effects can be reduced and side effects potentially can be increased. Longest and Hindle have developed a new small-particle, excipient enhanced growth aerosol device that demonstrates more efficiency in reaching the lungs, reduction of variability in dose effects among subjects and better targeting of small airways.

The renewal grant will allow researchers to translate this novel high-efficiency aerosol delivery technology and test it for the first time with human subjects.

The interdisciplinary study will be performed completely within VCU by Hindle and Longest along with the School of Medicine’s Aamer Syed, M.D., Chris DeWilde, R.N. and Anna Priday, VCU Johnson Center for Critical Care and Pulmonary Research; Jamal Zweit, Ph.D., and Sundaresan Gobalakrishnan, Ph.D., Center for Molecular Imaging; and Melvin Fratkin, M.D., and Jianqiao Luo, Ph.D., Department of Radiology.

Longest and Hindle have collaborated on a number of research projects over the years to improve aerosol inhaler mouthpiece technology, develop novel aerosol inhaler concepts and investigate aerosol deposition in realistic oropharyngeal models. Initial seed funding for this project was supported by the Innovation Gateway at VCU and an Interdisciplinary Research Grant from the Schools of Dentistry, Pharmacy and Engineering.