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Inhalation Techology


Respiratory diseases, from infections to obstructive lung disease to cancer, are major public health problems.  Acute respiratory infections are the third largest cause of death worldwide. The goal of the Inhalation Technology Program is to develop technologies to facilitate inhalation therapy that will help reduce human suffering and eventually health care costs.

The program will apply inhalation technology to the diagnosis and treatment of both acute and chronic respiratory and non-respiratory ailment.  The respiratory tract can be used for not only local delivery but also as a conduit to deliver therapeutic agents systemically for the treatment of non-respiratory diseases.  The respiratory tract can also provide a “window” for monitoring biomarkers of disease states.

Areas for innovation will include use of novel combinations of gases, therapeutic agents, inhalation systems, delivery systems, “smart-delivery” or self-monitoring/dosing devices. 

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The prevalence of respiratory diseases is among the leading causes of human suffering and death in the world. Most noteworthy are acute respiratory infections (the third largest cause of death worldwide), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or “COPD” (fourth largest cause of death worldwide), followed by other chronic conditions such as asthma, respiratory distress syndrome, sleep apnea, cystic fibrosis, and tuberculosis, as well as lung cancers and pulmonary vascular disorders such as pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary embolism.

The increasing incidence of respiratory diseases, coupled with their chronic nature, and the increase in expected life span in most modern societies, translates into higher prevalence, disability, and increasing costs to society (cost of hospitalization and treatment, work days lost, premature death). Many respiratory diseases require lifelong medical treatment.

It is the premise of the CIMIT Inhalation Technology Program that developing technologies to facilitate treatment of respiratory disease and to deliver therapy through an inhaled route for systemic therapy will help to reduce human suffering and eventually health care costs.

CIMIT’s Inhalation Technology Program is focused on developing novel inhalation technologies to treat respiratory and non-respiratory diseases. The goal is to establish a world-leading platform for research and development of technologies and techniques that use the respiratory tract for the delivery of therapy for local lung disease and as a “highway” to deliver agents systematically. 

Areas for innovation will include use of novel combinations of gases, therapeutic agents, inhalation systems, delivery systems, “smart-delivery” or self-monitoring/dosing devices.  Multidisciplinary innovations hold particular promise.

Specific aims of the Inhalation Technology Program include:

  • To focus on technologic innovations for cost-effective delivery of inhaled therapeutic agents, such as medications, inhaled solutions, and gases.
  • To promote the development of novel technologies to monitor the safety and clinical effectiveness of inhalation therapies. 
  • To develop diagnostic techniques including imaging and biomarkers. 

Initial research priorities for 2009 include application of inhalation technologies for organ protection and critical care, respiratory and infectious diseases and oncology.

Specifically, organ protection in the acute clinical settings should focus on problems such as cerebral ischemia, sepsis & inflammation, suspended animation, traumatic injury including brain hypertension emergencies and intra-operative organ protection.  Ideal agents could be delivered by closed loop monitoring to provide organ protection or diagnose injury.  

Respiratory/infectious disease treatment or prevention can take place in acute or ambulatory settings. There is vast clinical need for improved delivery in asthma, COPD and pulmonary hypertension. Potential projects include optimizing of delivery of therapeutic agents, regional targeting of inhalation agents, and monitoring for safety, frequency of use, and patient compliance.

In the area of oncology, the pulmonary highway may be an appropriate route of inhalation agents in acute and ambulatory settings for pain relief, diagnosis, or treatment with lower toxicity.


  • Projects
  • Work
  • Forum/Events
FY 2011 & 2010 CIMIT-Funded
Inhalation Technology Projects
2011 Jussi Saukkonen, MD Boston University Low-Cost, Low Maintenance Mechanical Ventilator for Developing World or Mass Casualty
2011 Yang (Ted) Teng, MD, PhD Brigham and Women's Hospital Carbon monoxide mediated neural protection for treating spinal cord injury
2010 Elazer Edelman, MD, PhD Massachusetts Institute of Technology Tissue Engineering Therapies for Inhalation Injury
2010 Malay Mazumder, PhD Boston University Electrostatic Dry Powder Inhaler for Constant Dose Respiratory Drug Delivery
Past CIMIT-Funded Science Projects Relevant to Inhalation Technology
2008 Homer Pien MGH, Draper, BU Image Guided Therapy: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Improving Perfusion Imaging
2008, 2006 Bruce Levy BWH Clinical Systems Innovation: Remotely Monitored Inhaler to Predict and Prevent Asthma Attacks
2007 George Washko BWH Image Guided Therapy: Quantitative Analysis of Airways and Airspace Disease Visualized on Computer Tomographic Imaging in Subjects with COPD
2006 Yandong Jiang MGH Clinical Systems Innovation: A Novel Negative Pressure Ventilation System
2006 Malinda Tupper Draper Biodetection & Sepsis Control: Novel Clinical Diagnostics Using Differential Mobility Spectrometry and Bioinformatics
2005 Massimo Ferrigno MGH Trauma & Casualty Care: Warming Hypothermic Patients Through the Respiratory System During Medical Evacuation
2004 Cristina Davis Draper Biodectection & Sepsis Control: Non-Invasive Breath Analysis
2004, 2003 Bob Kacmerek MGH Trauma & Critical Care: Assessment of Portable Ventilators
2003 Massimo Ferrigno MGH Trauma & Casualty Care: Field Cooling of Injured Soldiers
2003 Angela Zapata Draper Biodectection & Sepsis Control: Detection of Pentane in Patient Exhaled Breath by FAIMS
1999 Edward Ingenito BWH MIS: Lung volume reduction
Other CIMIT Work Relevant to
Inhalation Technology
Augustine Choi;
Hasan Alam
U of Pitt
Inhalation Technology and Trauma & Casualty Care: BAA - Inhaled Carbon Monoxide for Treatment of Hemorrhage and Tissue Injury 2008 - TBD
Jussi Saukkonen BUMC, BVAMC Inhalation Technology: BAA - Xenon based TBI treatment 2008 - TBD
Nat Sims;
Mike Dempsey;
Penny Ford Carleton
MGH Clinical Systems Innovation: Wearable monitor with respiratory and arrhymia-detection sensors 2008
Yangdong Jiang;
Bob Kacmerek
MGH Inhalation Technology: BAA - Negative Pressure Ventilation and Resuscitation 2008 - TBD
Bill Weisman Harvey Mudd College, Biostar Trauma & Casualty Care: Design and production of a Self-Operating Closed-Loop Ventilator System 2007
Inhalation Technology Program at the
CIMIT Forum and Past Events
CIMIT Inhalation Technology Consortium Meeting

CIMIT Summer Education Series 2009: Frontiers of Inhalation Technologies in Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Medicine


Jul. 7, 2009

Jul. 7, 14, 21, & 28




Joseph Brain, SD:
Harvard School of Public Health

Anthony J. Hickey, PhD, DSc: University of North Carolina

Sabine Haussermann, PhD: AirLiquide

Gerald Smaldone, MD, PhD: SUNY Stony Brook

Philippe Richebe, MD, PhD: University of Washington

Thomas Marx, MD:
Air Liquide

Elazer Edelman, MD, PhD:

Reinhard Vehring, PHD: Pearl Therapeutics

Systemic Delivery of Proteins via the Lungs: Setbacks and Advances

Design Factors Influencing Aerosol Delivery by Pharmaceutical Inhalers

Inhalation Technology for Obstructive
Lung Disease

Aerosolized Drugs in Medicine: Where are They?

Xenon Anesthesia - What Else?

Clinical Challenges of Xenon Anesthesia: Pros and Cons

Tissue Engineering
(No Video Available)

Design of Structured Microparticles for Inhalation
(No Video Available)

Forum: Inhalation Technology Feb. 3, 2009

Warren M. Zapol, MD:

Myrna Dolovich, P ENG:
McMaster University, St Joseph's Healthcare

Inhalation Gases in Biomedical Research

Aerosols and Aerosol Drug Delivery Systems: Basics and Beyonds


Program Leaders

Augustine MK Choi, MDAugustine MK Choi, MD

Co-Program Leader,
Inhalation Technology

Jose Venegas, PhD

José G. Venegas, PhD

Co-Program Leader,
Inhalation Technology

Jussi Jaakko Saukkonen, Jr., MDJussi J. Saukkonen, MD

Associate Leader,
Inhalation Technology


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News & Press Releases

Program Leader, Augustine MK Choi, MD, honored at ATS (American Thoracic Society) Conference for scientific accomplishments in lung disease research, treatment and prevention

CIMIT Summer Education Series 2009: Frontiers of Inhalation Technologies in Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Medicine

CIMIT Launches Inhalation Technology Program

CIMIT Names Leaders, Outlines Goals of New Inhalation Technology Program

OptiNose joins CIMIT ILP

CIMIT Launching Technology Platform for Inhalation Therapy with $1.5M in Seed Funds from Air Liquide


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