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Life changing Cystic Fibrosis device to be developed within two years

Professor Deirdre McGrath, Professor Colum Dunne and Dr Leonard O’Sullivan Picture: Sean Curtin. Cystic Fibrosis.

A cystic fibrosis medical device is currently being developed at The University of Limerick and is set to be completed and on the market in two years.

The device will improve the quality of life for those who suffer from cystic fibrosis and drastically reduce the patient’s exposure to infections and antibiotic usage thus allowing for shortened hospital stays and fewer doctors visits.

Inventors at The University of Limerick have received €500,000 funding from Enterprise Ireland for the device which helps remove mucus from the patient’s airways without causing infection.




The team of inventors at UL involves microbiologists, product designers and medical doctors. The team includes co-principal investigator Dr Leonard O’Sullivan from UL’s School of Design.

“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 Cystic Fibrosis in the world so this new device will change the lives of thousands nationwide.

There is 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”.

Dr Leonard O’Sullivan from UL’s School of Design is co-principal investigator for this device and expressed how, “SoloPEP is a good example of user-centred design and it will have a dramatic impact on the quality of life of cystic fibrosis patients in a sector with significant commercial opportunity”.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system of about 1200 children and adults in the Ireland (70,000 worldwide).

Find out more about CF here.

Read more about Enterprise Ireland here.

Check out the University of Limerick here.





Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.