Scientists have claimed that a new medicine developed by researchers at Queen's University in Belfast could revolutionise the treatment of intensive care patients with lung disorders.
The new drug could become the first effective treatment for acute lung injury, which claims the lives of thousands of people every year.
Acute lung injury is a condition that affects about 20% of all patients in intensive care.
The main causes are road traffic accidents and infections, and many with the condition die as a result of lung failure.
If successful the nanoparticle, which measures around one billionth of a metre, could also be used to treat other common lung disorders such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and cystic fibrosis.
At present there are no effective treatments for acute lung injury because of the difficulty in reaching the inflammation.