New Technology Helps Asthma Patients Breathe Easy

Globally, 180,000 people die of acute asthma attacks every year, many with a rescue inhaler in hand. Some of these asthmatics are resistant to available medications, but for most the rescue medicine could not penetrate their constricted airways.

SAIT Polytechnic is working with industry partner SolAeroMed to develop the first innovation in asthma treatment in more than 30 years. SolAeroMed has patented a drug, S-1226, that can overcome the shortcomings in current standards of care for acute airway constriction. But the company met a stumbling block after it was approved for human trials. Compressed CO2 is the key to success for SolAeroMed’s treatment and also created the largest challenge in bringing it to market.

That’s where SAIT Polytechnic came in.

SolAeroMed contacted SAIT Polytechnic’s Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS) and asked its Sports and Wellness Engineering Technologies researchers to help develop a safe drug-delivery system to administer S-1226, which relies on compressed CO2 to open pathways in the lungs.

SAIT Polytechnic engineers designed and fabricated a prototype, producing a smaller and easy-to-use alternative to its predecessor – a bulky CO2 canister. This asthma drug-delivery system will allow emergency responders and emergency room doctors to administer this fast-acting airway opener in time to save lives.

Beyond the potential for S-1226 to improve the quality of life for asthmatics, the drug is projected to save Canada nearly $500 million per year in health care costs by shortening or eliminating visits to intensive care units.

Partner(s): SolAeroMed
Funded by: Applied Research and Development (ARD) Grant

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