New device developed at UL will change lives of CF sufferers

No infection device intended for market in two years

Maria Flannery


Maria Flannery

New device developed at UL will change lives of CF sufferers

Professor Deirdre McGrath, Professor Colum Dunne and Dr Leonard O'Sullivan Picture: Sean Curtin

A NEW medical device which will greatly improve the quality of life of Cystic Fibrosis patients is being created in Limerick and will be on the market in two years.

Inventors at University of Limerick have secured funding for the device, which lessens CF patients’ exposure to infections, and results in fewer doctors’ visits and shorter hospital stays.

The new percussion device helps to remove mucus from the airways without causing infection.

“Our studies included patient involvement from the outset and allowed us to develop something that is truly technologically disruptive,” said director of research at UL’s Graduate Entry Medical School, Professor Colum Dunne.

Ireland has the highest incidence of CF in the world, and the disease is currently the most common fatal hereditary disease in the US.

There are already percussion-based chest physiotherapy devices on the market, but according to Professor Dunne, these “can sometimes become reservoirs for the bacteria that cause infections in Cystic Fibrosis patients”.

Because the new device, SoloPep, is disposable, it poses no threat of reinfection.

The Limerick-based team, which recently secured €500,000 in Enterprise Ireland funding for the development of the life-changing product, involves microbiologists, product designers and medical doctors. The team includes co-principal investigator Dr Leonard O’Sullivan from UL’s School of Design.