The new field of therapeutic aerosol bioengineering (TAB), driven primarily by the medical need for inhaled insulin, is now expanding to address medical needs ranging from respiratory to systemic diseases, including asthma, growth deficiency, and pain. Bioengineering of therapeutic aerosols involves a level of aerosol particle design absent in traditional therapeutic aerosols, which are created by conventionally spraying a liquid solution or suspension of drug or milling and mixing a dry drug form into respirable particles. Bioengineered particles may be created in liquid form from devices specially designed to create an unusually fine size distribution, possibly with special purity properties, or solid particles that possess a mixture of drug and excipient, with designed shape, size, porosity, and drug release characteristics. Such aerosols have enabled several high-visibility clinical programs of inhaled insulin, as well as earlier-stage programs involving inhaled morphine, growth hormone, beta-interferon, alpha-1-antitrypsin, and several asthma drugs. The design of these aerosols, limited by partial knowledge of the lungs' physiological environment, and driven largely at this stage by market forces, relies on a mixture of new and old science, pharmaceutical science intuition, and a degree of biological-impact empiricism that speaks to the importance of an increased level of academic involvement.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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