A new methodology for targeting drug-aerosols in the human respiratory system

Clement Kleinstreuer*, Zhe Zhang, Zheng Li, William L. Roberts, Carlye Rojas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Inhalation of medicine for the treatment of lung and other diseases is becoming more and more a preferred option when compared to injection or oral intake. Unfortunately, existing devices such as the popular pressurized metered dose inhalers and dry powder inhalers have rather low deposition efficiencies and their drug-aerosol deliveries are non-directional. This is acceptable when the medicine is inexpensive and does not cause systemic side effects, as it may be the case for patients with mild asthma. However, the delivery of aggressive chemicals, or expensive insulin, vaccines and genetic material embedded in porous particles or droplets requires optimal targeting of such inhaled drug-aerosols to predetermined lung areas. The new methodology introduces the idea of a controlled air-particle stream which provides maximum, patient-specific drug-aerosol deposition based on optimal particle diameter and density, inhalation waveform, and particle-release position. The efficacy of the new methodology is demonstrated with experimentally validated computer simulations of two-phase flow in a human oral airway model with two different sets of tracheobronchial airways. Physical insight to the dynamics of the controlled air-particle stream is provided as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5578-5589
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Issue number23-24
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dr. C.S. Kim (Human Studies Division, U.S. EPA, RTP, NC) for providing instrumentation and laboratory space to conduct the reported experiments. Use of the particle-inlet nozzle, courtesy of Prof. S.T. Seelecke (MAE Dept., NCSU, Raleigh, NC), is acknowledge as well. This effort was sponsored by the NIH grant 8R21EB006717-02.


  • Drug-aerosol inhalers
  • Experimental verification of new methodology
  • Methodology for smart inhaler system
  • Targeted drug-aerosol delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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