Asthma nebuliser / PALM

Breathing new life into asthma treatment using the PALM of their hand.

Investigators

  • Professor Daphne Flynn
    Adjunct Professor Mark Armstrong
    Dr Rowan Page
    Richard Morfuni
    Monash Art, Design and Architecture
  • Dr Tuncay Alan
    Senior Lecturer, Director of Industry Engagement and Deputy Director of Research Training at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Monash University
  • Dr Jason Beaker
    PhD Monash, BMechEng(Hons) Monash
  • Professor Bruce Thompson
    Chair of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board and Product Portfolio Development Lead of RESPIRI

Partner organisation

  • RESPIRI

People with inflammatory disease like asthma, will be able to medicate with confidence using an interactive, hand held device and advanced technology designed around a deep understanding of people. Children represent the largest group of asthmatics and engaging them with an interactive, universal design suitable for all aged groups is key to creating effective medication and positively influencing self care behaviour.

Professor Daphne Flynn

More than 2.7 million Australians, or approximately 11 per cent of the population, have asthma. The standard blue pressurised metered dose inhaler (pMDI), first introduced in the 1950s, is still considered best practice for asthma relief. High levels of coordination and education create major barriers to demographics such as children and elderly who struggle to use inhaler devices correctly, despite being the highest volume user groups. However researchers say they lack the dexterity and coordination to administer the dosage from the pMDI correctly. These factors as well as the generalised approach to ‘blanket treating’ asthma sufferers, over medicators and users who are poor at perceiving lung condition result in fewer than 30% of people using their inhalers correctly. This prevents children in particular from getting maximum pharmaceutical relief. If the droplet sizes are too large, the drug tends to gather in the back of the throat and not reach the lungs. If the droplet sizes are too small, patients inhale and exhale the drug without it reaching the targeted part of the respiratory system.

World-first drug delivery technology, designed by Monash University researchers to help improve the health of asthmatics, has received a grant of more than $725,000 through the Federal Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to examine the shape and functionality of inhalers and.personalised drug delivery

The research team comprising Monash Art, Design and Architecture’s Design Health Collab and Monash Faculty of Engineering collaborated on the design of an asthma nebuliser named PALM (Personalised Aerosol Loading and Management), a game changing device, reimagining the way chronic respiratory diseases (inflammatory disease of the lower airways), like Asthma (and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD), are treated.

The world-first drug delivery technology, the PALM device is on the cusp of human clinical trials. PALM monitors the speed of inhalation and automatically delivers a personalised drug dosage specific to the patient in a portable inhaler designed to fit in the palm of one’s hand.

Announced in October 2020, the funding will be used to progress research and facilitate localised human clinical trials of the PALM device in the next 18 months.