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CFD Optimization of Inhaled Therapies
Posted Thu September 25, 2003 @01:36PM
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Application By Keith McCormack,
Department of Medical Physics, University of Sheffield, UK
and Ian Jones,

Using state-of-the-art modeling techniques, COPHIT software simulates the entire dynamic drug delivery process for particulate, aerosol and gaseous drug types, from the device, through the lungs to the pulmonary system. The software is designed for use by pharmaceutical companies and clinicians who need to predict and optimize inhaled therapies, and allows deposition and uptake to be customized for particular drugs, delivery devices, diseases and even individual patients. It has been developed within COPHIT, which is a project part-funded by the Commission of the European Communities.

The software is the first known implementation of a fully-coupled 1-D/3-D model of the complete pulmonary drug delivery process.

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The following components help to achieve this:
  • Segmentation and Mesh Generation algorithms, to convert the medical images into a geometrical model, which can be used for the advanced flow simulation.
  • CAD compatibility, to allow complex device designs to be imported into the model.
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), to simulate the flow in the devices and airways, to predict the drug concentration in the lungs, and to use as the basis for absorption and deposition models.
  • Compartment models of the overall pulmonary structure, in order to model the effects of a particular therapy on an individual patient
  • Advanced post-processing and reporting of results.

The segmentation algorithm, developed by the University of Mainz, produces a surface description of the airways. CFX-5 CFD software then automatically creates a CFX-5 volume mesh directly from this surface description.

CFX-5 simulates the 3-D flow of air and drug through the device, the oral and nasal cavities, and the tracheo-bronchial tree during the breathing cycle. CFX-5ís multiphase models predict the motion of aerosol droplets and drug particles and their deposition on the surfaces of the device and the airways. The compartment model, which is coupled to the 3-D flow model, employs a supercompartmental structure, with detailed sub-models of the different physical and biological processes taking place. With both systemic and pulmonary drug delivery mechanisms included, a wide range of pulmonary and non-pulmonary conditions can be investigated.

In-vivo validation as well as in-vitro testing is being undertaken by various partners.

Expert partners involved in the COPHIT project are Sheffield University, CFX CFD Software from ANSYS, University of Mainz, Aventis Pharma, INO Therapeutics GmbH and Areco SA. This project is funded under the Fifth EC Framework Programme for Research, Project Number IST-1999-14004.

airway geometry
University of Mainz medical imaging software allows reconstruction of airway geometries from MRI and CT scans.

flow analysis
Flow analysis in the nasal cavity. Streamlines coloured by fluid velocity: blue=lowest > red=highest.

flow simulation
Multi-component fluid simulation: Progress of helium (in nitrogen) in the tracheo-bronchial tree.

flow simulation
Flow simulation in the Aventis E-Haler drug delivery device.

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