Estimates suggest that 20 million people have been diagnosed with asthma, 2.5 million with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and over 250,000 with interstitial lung diseases in Europe and the UK.
Patient-specific computer-aided simulations of aerosol inhalation can be a viable approach to optimise drug delivery to the lungs. Researchers at The School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University use patient-specific medical images (computed tomography (CT) scans of lungs) to construct lung airways and multi-scale computational particle-fluid dynamics (CPFD) to simulate transport and deposition of aerosol drug particles in the airways.
Their ultimate goal is to provide clinicians with tailored treatment recommendations and underpin decisions in precision respiratory medicine. They also aim to educate patients on inhaler techniques through visualisations of drug deposition in their own airways.
Similar studies exist but, unfortunately, they’ve been conducted with a significantly smaller number of particles which do not correspond to the realistic inhaler dose. This limitation is related to the significant computational resources needed to perform such simulations.
Thanks to OCRE Cloud Funding for research, the team at Heriot-Watt University was able to leverage on powerful cloud computing services to perform simulations of realistic aerosol drug deposition in lung airways. The scientific outcomes have been disseminated in scientific journals and conferences on aerosol modelling, while the developed computational framework will be released as an open-source software. Data generated in this research will be used in a later project to train surrogate models that combine the power of physical models with the speed of neural networks to optimise aerosol drugs.
Read the full success story on the OCRE website: https://www.ocre-project.eu/success-story/leveraging-cloud-resources-optimise-drug-delivery-lungs