King’s College London researcher gets hands-on with DissolvIt in simulated lung lining fluid tests
King’s College London research scientist Mireille Hassoun worked at the ISAB labs in Stockholm, from 18-29 January, running tests on three versions of Kings’ simulated lung lining mucus using DissolvIt. How did she find her hands-on experience of the system, how does it compare with other in vitro systems, and what are her views of the opportunities the technology offers inhaled drug developers?
King’s College London is currently developing the world’s first synthetic lung fluid, based on measurements of human lung fluid composition. Being able to work with biorelevant fluids would represent a major breakthrough for inhaled drug developers, potentially adding significantly to their understanding of the solubility and dissolution of drugs in the lungs and enabling faster, more cost-effective testing. ISAB have been collaborating on the project since 2014 and have visited King’s to share knowledge and innovation on in vitro testing.
ISAB’s product development manager for in vitro studies, Maria Börjel introduced the system: “Maria gave me half a day’s training,” says Hassoun, “then I was able to use it myself. I just followed the natural flow and found it intuitive and easy-to-use. Everything is laid out in front of you. Because every component is linked to the software all you have to do is connect it.”
Previously Hassoun has used a TSI-Transwell in vitro system: “They are really different systems,” she says. “The Transwell wasn’t automated like DissolvIt is, so I had to process every sample manually. There was room for error. You couldn’t really get up and leave the room during the process because it would possibly fail.”
Professor Ben Forbes, the simulated lung fluid project leader at King’s College London, said “ISAB’s in vitro dissolution capabilities are excellent, in fact, leading.” Mireille Hassoun adds: “DissolvIt is the only system I’m aware of in the world that could run these tests and that has all the separate components to mimic the factors affecting particles depositing in the lung.”
Whilst DissolvIt is an important step towards in vitro-in vivo correlation (IVIVC), Hassoun sees full IVIVC as still some years away: “By running these tests and achieving good results we hope to get nearer to IVIVC. Incorporation of synthetic lung lining fluid is an important step, but realistically full IVIVC is still some years away.”
Mireille Hassoun will continue with her Ph.D. for two and a half years, but the impact of dissolution on lung disposition is a longer term interest of the Respiratory Medicines Research Centre at Kings, where there is much excitement regarding the ongoing collaboration on developing the DissolvIt technique of modelling aerosol particle dissolution. Hassoun is interested in combining research in the pharma and industrial sectors with teaching. “I found the lung and respiratory area the most interesting part of my pre-doc studies – particularly how fast the incidence of asthma and COPD were growing. It’s an important area and there are so many people out there with asthma and COPD who are unaware they even have it – it affects a huge number of people.”