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The University of Southampton
Southampton Respiratory Imaging GroupResearch

Drug deposition

 Inhalation therapy uses aerosols to deliver drugs to the body.  It is widely applied to treat asthma and other respiratory diseases and is being increasingly proposed as a means of delivering drugs systemically to treat other diseases such as diabetes.  In principle, the efficacy of aerosol therapy could be improved if the deposition of inhaled drugs were optimized in terms of quantity and location. This requires knowledge about where in the airway tree drugs need to be delivered for optimum treatment of specific diseases and then about how to prescribe the aerosol inhalation regime that will deliver the drug to the appropriate place.


Two-dimensional imaging of a radioactively labelled aerosol using a gamma camera is widely used to provide information on the fate of inhaled drugs in the body to assist the task of improving drug deliver regimes. The Southampton Respiratory Imaging Group has developed the use of imaging for this purpose by pioneering the use of three-dimensional multi-modality medical imaging. Three- dimensional multimodality medical imaging provides improved information on the fate of inhaled drugs in the airway tree.  3D radionuclide imaging using Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) of an inhaled radioaerosol can provides improved information of the spatial distribution of aerosol deposition in the body compared to planar imaging.  Aligned computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance images (MRI) are then used to describe the deposition in relation to anatomy.

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