Asthma is a disease that affects hundreds of millions of children and adults throughout the world and has tremendous impact on the quality and longevity of human life. Pharmaceutical companies are interested in development of effective drug therapies and researchers are pursuing investigations into the causes and possible cures of this and other restrictive airway diseases. Central to such efforts is measurement of airway resistance, the pathophysiologic factor that is increased in asthma and underlies its symptomology. Rats and mice are commonly used as models of the human disease and accurate measurement of airway resistance in these species has proved a formidable problem. This obstacle has impeded both the research into the mechanism of asthma and preclinical testing of therapeutics. Given this, a need exists for a cost effective, non-invasive method for reliable measurement of airway resistance in rodents.
A new technique was recently proposed to monitor specific airway resistance in mice using an acoustic plethysmographic technique that permits measurement in unrestrained, unanesthetized rodents. Researchers at Dartmouth have developed a useful adjunct to that procedure allowing calibration of the acoustic resistance measurement, something not possible in the technique as described. This new calibration approach can be applied periodically to the acoustic resistance process and makes the procedure practical for measuring the time course of treatment affects.
Previous techniques to evaluate airway resistance using unrestrained plethysmography in mice rely on the validity of the enhanced pause (Penh) measurement, and this has been shown to be an unreliable estimator of the airway response to inhaled methacholine, a standard airway irritant ("Comparison of unrestrained plethysmography and forced oscillation for identifying genetic variability of airway responsiveness in inbred mice": Berndt et al. Physiol Genomics 43: 1-11, 2011). The approach proposed in this application is based upon a direct estimation of specific airway resistance that therefore does not depend upon correlation for validity.
The result of this improvement is process that permits reliable respiratory resistance measurement to be easily made in mice and rats. Such an approach permits the investigator to evaluate more accurately and efficiently the consequences of pharmacologic and other experimental modifications upon specific airway resistance.
This technology is claimed in a pending patent application. We are seeking an industrial partner interested in its commercialization.
Last Updated: 7/24/12