Porous materials to revolutionise oxygen therapies

Lauren Macreadie – CSIRO

A new oxygen-delivery device could one day significantly improve quality of life for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to Australian researchers.

“COPD is a serious condition that limits airflow to the lungs. An estimated 328 million people worldwide have COPD and it’s expected to become the leading cause of death within the next 15 years,” says Dr Lauren Macreadie, a researcher from CSIRO.

While oxygen therapy is often used to treat COPD, current delivery systems are large, noisy, and heavy. This, along with short battery life, limits sufferers’ ability to lead a normal life.

Lauren is working on a far smaller and more energy efficient system.

“It will use highly porous sponge-like materials known as metal organic frameworks (MOFs), to capture oxygen gas from the atmosphere,” added Lauren. “I’m designing new MOFs to more effectively do this.”

“Air is about 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen. Current systems need bulky compressors to separate the nitrogen first. A MOFs based system wouldn’t need to.”

Further investigations into the oxygen selective MOFs are currently underway with the support of interested medical industry partnerships.

Image credit: Lauren Macreadie

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