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Studies on antibiotic aerosols for inhalation in cystic fibrosis

25 May 2009

PhD ceremony: E.M. Westerman, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Thesis: Studies on antibiotic aerosols for inhalation in cystic fibrosis

Promotor(s): prof. H.W. Frijlink

Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences


Since the 1980’s major progress has been achieved in the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF). Inhalation of antibiotic drugs has become a pillar in CF-treatment. Colistimethate sodium and tobramycin are active against the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which plays a major role in inflammation, including fibrosis, in the lung.

Inhaling antibiotic drugs with current available devices is inefficient and a burden for CF-patiënts, negatively affecting adherence to therapy.

The objective of the research of Elsbeth Westerman has been to improve treatment with inhaled antibiotics by CF-patients. A new dry powder inhaler (Twincer®), developed by the RUG, with colistimethate sodium, has been clinically tested for the first time in volunteers and CF-patients.

Westermans results showed that the Twincer® provided a faster and more efficient administration of the drug compared to the currently used nebulisers. The inhaler has been designed for single use, reducing the risk of microbiological contamination and the development of bacterial resistance. The patients were positive about the rapid administration of the dose (< 1 minute) and the small size of the inhaler.

Furthermore, lung deposition of tobramycin in CF-patients has been shown to be influenced by the used nebuliser equipment, which may result in sub-effective or toxic drug concentrations in the lung.

Future research and development should be focussed on making the new inhalation therapy available to a larger patient population. This should ultimately result in optimisation of the lung dose in each individual patient taking both physical and physiological variables into account.


Last modified:15 September 2017 3.38 p.m.
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