Gilbert Technologies is committed to improving patient care when using drugs that cause unpleasant conditions when using medication. Our first focus area is patients with respiratory disease.
The applications are developed in this order:
We believe our inhalers can be positioned as a superior inhaler offering better outcomes, higher patient convenience and hence better patient adherence. Our inhalers can be positioned as a competitive differentiator to either branded proprietary, generic or brand-less generic pharmaceuticals, enabling inhalation of new and/or more complex molecules (for instance biologicals). Therefore, we at Gilbert Technologies aim to become the new competitive differentiator and entry barrier in a market where generics are replacing branded medication.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a type of obstructive lung disease characterized by long-term breathing problems and poor airflow. The main symptoms include shortness of breath and cough with sputum production. COPD is a progressive disease, meaning it typically worsens over time. Eventually everyday activities, such as walking or getting dressed, become difficult. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are older terms used for different types of COPD. The term “chronic bronchitis” is still used to define a productive cough that is present for at least three months each year for two years.
Tobacco smoking is the most common cause of COPD, with factors such as air pollution and genetics playing a smaller role. In the developing world, one of the common sources of air pollution is poorly vented heating and cooking fires. Long-term exposure to these irritants causes an inflammatory response in the lungs, resulting in narrowing of the small airways and breakdown of lung tissue. The diagnosis is based on poor airflow as measured by lung function tests. In contrast to asthma, the airflow reduction does not improve much with the use of a bronchodilator.
Most cases of COPD can be prevented by reducing exposure to risk factors. This includes decreasing rates of smoking and improving indoor and outdoor air quality. While treatment can slow worsening, there is no cure. COPD treatments include stopping smoking, vaccinations, respiratory rehabilitation, and often inhaled bronchodilators and steroids. Some people may benefit from long-term oxygen therapy or lung transplantation. In those who have periods of acute worsening, increased use of medications and hospitalization may be needed.
As of 2015 COPD affected about 174.5 million (2.4%) of the global population. It typically occurs in people over the age of 40. Males and females are affected equally commonly. In 2015 it resulted in 3.2 million deaths, up from 2.4 million deaths in 1990. More than 90% of these deaths occur in the developing world. The number of deaths is projected to increase further because of higher smoking rates in the developing world, and an aging population in many countries. It resulted in an estimated economic cost of $2.1 trillion in 2010.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic irreversible and ultimately fatal disease characterized by a progressive decline in lung function. The term pulmonary fibrosis means scarring of lung tissue and is the cause of worsening dyspnea (shortness of breath). Fibrosis is usually associated with a poor prognosis.
IPF belongs to a large group of more than 200 lung diseases known as interstitial lung diseases (ILDs), characterized by the involvement of lung interstitium. The interstitium, the tissue between the air sacs in the lung, is the primary site of injury in ILDs. However, these disorders frequently affect not only the interstitium, but also the airspaces, peripheral airways, and vessels. Lung tissue from people with IPF shows a characteristic histopathologic pattern known as usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP). UIP is therefore the pathologic counterpart of IPF. The term ‘idiopathic’ is used because the cause of pulmonary fibrosis is still unknown. IPF usually occurs in adults of between 50 and 70 years of age, particularly those with a history of cigarette smoking, and affects more men than women. The diagnosis of IPF requires exclusion of other known causes of ILDs and the presence of a typical radiological pattern identified through high resolution computed tomography (HRCT). In the right clinical setting, it is possible to make the diagnosis of IPF by HRCT alone, obviating the need for surgical lung biopsy.
Treatment to slow down the progression of the disease may include anti-fibrotic therapy.
Bronchiectasis is a disease in which there is permanent enlargement of parts of the airways of the lung. Symptoms typically include a chronic cough with mucus production. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing up blood, and chest pain. Wheezing and nail clubbing may also occur. Those with the disease often get frequent lung infections.
Bronchiectasis may result from a number of infective and acquired causes, including pneumonia, tuberculosis, immune system problems, and cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis eventually results in severe bronchiectasis in nearly all cases. The cause in 10–50% of those without cystic fibrosis is unknown. The mechanism of disease is breakdown of the airways due to an excessive inflammatory response. Involved airways (bronchi) become enlarged and thus less able to clear secretions. These secretions increase the amount of bacteria in the lungs, result in airway blockage and further breakdown of the airways. It is classified as an obstructive lung disease, along with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. The diagnosis is suspected based on a person’s symptoms and confirmed using computed tomography. Cultures of the mucus produced may be useful to determine treatment in those who have acute worsening and at least once a year.
Worsening may occur due to infection and in these cases antibiotics are recommended. Typical antibiotics used include amoxicillin, erythromycin, or doxycycline. Antibiotics may also be used to prevent worsening of disease. Airway clearance techniques, a type of physical therapy, are recommended. Medications to dilate the airways may be useful in some but the evidence is not very good. The use of inhaled steroids has not been found to be useful. Surgery, while commonly done, has not been well studied. Lung transplantation may be an option in those with very severe disease. While the disease may cause significant health problems most people with the disease do well.
The disease affects between 1 per 1000 and 1 per 250,000 adults. The disease is more common in women and increases as people age. It became less common since the 1950s with the introduction of antibiotics. It is more common among certain ethnic groups such as indigenous people. It was first described by Rene Laennec in 1819. The economic costs in the United States are estimated at $630 million per year.
Lung transplantation or pulmonary transplantation is a surgical procedure in which a patient’s diseased lungs are partially or totally replaced by lungs which come from a donor. Donor lungs can be retrieved from a living donor or a deceased donor. A living donor can only donate one lung lobe. With some lung diseases a recipient may only need to receive a single lung. With other lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis it is imperative that a recipient receives two lungs. While lung transplants carry certain associated risks, they can also extend life expectancy and enhance the quality of life for end-stage pulmonary patients.
• TU Delft
• NHL University of Applied Sciences
• University Medical Center Utrecht
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