Nose model grown to test nasal spray drugs

WISH cell culture

A new model for developing new drugs that mimics the inner surface of the nasal cavity has been developed by Southampton researchers.

Nasal inhalers can be an effective way of getting drugs into the body, via the nasal cavities behind the nose. But to work well, the drugs  must pass through the cells lining this cavity without damaging them, needing tightly controlled doses and careful testing. 

Nose in a dish

To speed the development of drugs delivered via the nose, Southampton researchers have grown nasal cavity cells in a dish in the lab. Their work, published in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics,  aims to provide a fast, safe first test by modelling the situation in the body in the lab.

The lab-grown cells acted just as they would inside the nose – they produced mucus and had tiny hair-like protrusions from the cells called cilia that swept this mucus away.

Developing new drugs and knowledge

The model gives an alternative to using animals and an early test-bed for new nasal spray drugs targeting respiratory infections, which often start in the nose and travel down into the lungs.

It also has the potential to help understand specific conditions like primary ciliary dyskenesia (PCD), in which cell cilia no longer sweep mucus away, by studying cell samples from affected patients.       

Posted on Thursday 22 September 2016