Nebulized ECM Rescue Device (NERD) for Prehospital Use


Voice disorders create significant communication challenges for people. Some recent work suggests that natural, processed, vocal fold projects injected into injured vocal folds can improve wound healing. We hypothesize that a portable nebulizer can serve as a convenient and affordable method to deliver a tissue specific extracellular matrix product to treat injuries to the voice box and trachea and improve over the need to leverage injections that require surgery. The proposed approach is designed to maximize ease of use, as it mimics current inhalers used for delivering other drugs. Our overall approach is to derive a formulation of extracellular matrix products from vocal folds that can be nebulized using commercially available nebulizers while retaining its anti-fibrotic and pro-healing properties. The first part of the project will focus on the optimization of the biomaterial formulation and nebulization parameters for targeted delivery. This will involve optimizing the particle size of the biomaterial and its formulation so that it can be delivered to a specific section of the upper airway of the rat model during the later phase of the studies. To ensure targeted delivery to the region of interest, we will compare the efficiency of two nebulization techniques: air jet nebulization and ultrasonic mesh nebulization. The nebulized form of the vocal fold extracellular matrix will then be tested in a rat model for pro-healing and anti-fibrotic effects as well as overall safety.

Diagram of particles

Diagrammatic representation of project. Derivation and characterization of a “nebulizable” form of VFLP-ECMh then tested for in vivo effects of nebulized VFLP-ECMh on a rat VF injury model.

Headshot of Greg R. Dion

Greg R. Dion

Physician Scientist, COM Oto - Laryngology

6412 Medical Sciences Building