A collaborative effort between Israeli and American researchers has made progress towards helping those suffering from respiratory illnesses.

BGN Technologies, Ben-Gurion University’s (BGU) technology-transfer company in southern Israel, announced last week the development of technology that unblocks airways of children suffering from respiratory tract diseases including asthma, bronchiolitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis (CF).

The new device removes secretions from the respiratory tract by simultaneously combining low-frequency flow oscillations with high-frequency acoustic waves. This facilitates detachment of mucus from airway walls and removes chunks of mucus by breaking them down into small particles.

Crediting the collaborative efforts of the research team, Prof. David Katoshevski of BGU said, “Our colleagues at Soroka and Cincinnati Children’s brought the medical knowledge and unmet need that was coupled with our technical and engineering capabilities, and together we developed this innovative solution in order to allow bronchiolitis, COPD and CF patients to breathe freely.”

He explained that “although airway secretions are a major component in the pathophysiology of numerous serious diseases affecting the respiratory tract, there is currently no effective therapeutic modality that directly or indirectly treats small airways.”

Dr. Iris Little of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital said, “Finding treatments for small airways diseases is of special interest to us since children’s airways are more susceptible to airway obstruction due to secretion because of smaller airways cross sectional area. Cincinnati Children’s is a world leader in treating patients with cystic fibrosis and airway clearance is an integral part of their clinical care practice.”

Collaboration between BGU and Cincinnati Children’s began in 2012 to address the lack of medical devices designed specifically for children and design healing devices customized to meet the unique physiology and medical needs of young people.

The third most common cause of death in the US is COPD. The condition affects more than 5 percent of the population, killing more than 120,000 people per year. The CDC reported in September 2019 a decline in education and control of asthma, causing a heightened rate of emergency hospital visits.

The new technique is expected to save many lives.