Numerical simulations of targeted delivery of magnetic drug aerosols in the human upper and central respiratory system: A validation study

Saša Kenjereš*, Jimmy Leroy Tjin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


In the present study, we investigate the concept of the targeted delivery of pharmaceutical drug aerosols in an anatomically realistic geometry of the human upper and central respiratory system. The geometry considered extends from the mouth inlet to the eighth generation of the bronchial bifurcations and is identical to the phantom model used in the experimental studies of Banko et al. (2015 Exp. Fluids 56, 1–12 (doi:10.1007/s00348-015-1966-y)). In our computer simulations, we combine the transitional Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) and the wall-resolved large eddy simulation (LES) methods for the air phase with the Lagrangian approach for the particulate (aerosol) phase. We validated simulations against recently obtained magnetic resonance velocimetry measurements of Banko et al. (2015 Exp. Fluids 56, 1–12. (doi:10.1007/s00348-015-1966-y)) that provide a full three-dimensional mean velocity field for steady inspiratory conditions. Both approaches produced good agreement with experiments, and the transitional RANS approach is selected for the multiphase simulations of aerosols transport, because of significantly lower computational costs. The local and total deposition efficiency are calculated for different classes of pharmaceutical particles (in the 0.1 µm ≤ dp ≤ 10 µm range) without and with a paramagnetic core (the shell–core particles). For the latter, an external magnetic field is imposed. The source of the imposed magnetic field was placed in the proximity of the first bronchial bifurcation. We demonstrated that both total and local depositions of aerosols at targeted locations can be significantly increased by an applied magnetization force. This finding confirms the possible potential for further advancement of the magnetic drug targeting technique for more efficient treatments for respiratory diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number170873
Number of pages24
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Aerosols
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Human upper and central airways
  • Lungs
  • Magnetic drug targeting
  • Respiratory diseases


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