Physical interactions that bring relief to clinical conditions

Case Study - Lamellar Biomedical

Usually taken for granted, natural lamellar bodies mediate the air-cell boundary in the airways and liquid-cell interfaces in our eyes and mouths. This enables movement, e.g. our eyes to blink, our mouths to eat and our lungs to breathe, and more importantly, is crucial for removing foreign bodies that enter our systems, to maintain our health. A range of diseases, including Dry Mouth, Dry Eye, progressive respiratory conditions including Cystic Fibrosis, and serious topical infections such as those in the eye and lung have symptoms of thick, sticky mucus that contains few lamellar bodies. The markey for both Dry Eye and Dry Mouth disease together generate sales in excess of $2 billion per annum and is predicted to grow signficantly within the next few years. Cystic Fibrosis is a genetically inherited disease that affects at least 80,000 people; the market for treatments in Cystic Fibrosis is currently worth in excess of $2 billion per annum and is predicted to grow significantly with the advent of new treatments.

Project partner

Lamellar Biomedical is developing a range of patent protected medical devices and pharmaceuticals based on mimetics of extra-alveolar lamellar bodies. LAMELLASOME™ are multi-lamellar lipid vesicles; synthetic mimics of those found in the body with identical structures and
biophysical properties. LAMELLASOME™ are surface active and can be used to mediate liquid-cell or liquid-air interfaces within the body, including in the lungs, mouth and the surface of the eye. Disease that may benefit from the application of LAMELLASOME™ mimics the body’s lamellar bodies including Dry Mouth, Dry Eye and Cystic Fibrosis.

The challenge

LAMELLASOME™ vesicles have an entirely biophysical mechanism of action and the company did not have ready access to tools and knowledge to fully elucidate how the lipid vesicles interact with internal surfaces and mucus to relieve symptoms. Understanding the underlying physics of the LAMELLASOME™ vesicles and their interactions with interfaces is crucial for developing applications.

How did ECFP help?

In 2015, ECFP and Lamellar Biomedical set up a partnership agreement to facilitate a two-way knowledge exchange between fundamental research and practical product formulation. The flexibility of the partnership agreement allows new scientific avenues to be explored as they occur. Four Principal Investigators and three researchers have worked with the company to date. ECFP’s expertise in rheology, wetting behaviour and lipid interactions continues to provide the company with valuable insight into preparation protocols and the mechanisms of action.

Image of a droplet on a surface to highlight capabilities at ECFP to study wetting behaviour
Example image captured by a tensiometer of a droplet deposited on a surface

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