Frans Walther of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute in the U.S. will adapt a low-cost synthetic lung surfactant for aerosol delivery as a non-invasive and simple method to support breathing in premature infants. Surfactant is composed of lipids and proteins, and keeps the lungs open during expiration. It is normally administered to premature infants with breathing difficulties by tracheal intubation, which can be problematic in low-resource settings and cause side effects. In Phase I, they produced the surfactant aerosol and found that it improved oxygenation and lung function in a small animal model. In Phase II, they will continue preclinical development by analyzing different application methods, dosing levels, and safety, and evaluate dry surfactant formulations that would not require refrigeration.
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