The scientists at The University of Nottingham who have developed the new technology are presenting their work at the Society for General Microbiology’s Autumn Conference at the University of Warwick.
The researchers have developed a catheter that can kill most urinary bacteria, including most strains of Proteus bacteria — the most common cause of catheter infections. Importantly the antimicrobial catheter retains its activity for between six to twelve weeks, making it suitable for long-term use, unlike existing commercial anti-infection catheters.
Urinary catheters are commonly used to manage incontinence in the elderly or individuals who have suffered long-term spinal cord injury. All catheters become infected after a couple of weeks and Proteus bacteria are responsible for up to 40% of these infections. The bacterium sticks to catheter surfaces and breaks down urea, causing the pH of urine to rise. This causes deposits of mineral crystals in the catheter which blocks it, preventing drainage. If unnoticed, catheter blockage can lead to kidney and bloodstream infections, which ultimately may result in potentially fatal septic shock.
This new antimicrobial catheter has significant advantages over existing solutions, explained Dr Roger Bayston, who is leading the development. “Commercial ‘anti-infection’ catheters are active for only a few days and are not suitable for long-term use. There is an urgent need for an antimicrobial catheter that is suitable for long-term use,“ he said. “Our catheter uses patented technology that does not involve any coatings which extends its antimicrobial activity. The process involves introducing antimicrobial molecules into the catheter material after manufacture, so that they are evenly distributed throughout it, yet can move through the material to replenish those washed away from the surface.”
There are 100 million catheter users worldwide whose lives can be severely disrupted by illness from repeat infections and side-effects from antibiotics. “The catheter technology has proven benefit in other medical settings and has the potential to be the solution to recurrent infections in long-term catheter users, which will improve quality of life of these individuals. In addition, reducing the need to frequently change catheters and treat infections would represent huge financial savings to the NHS,” explained Dr Bayston.
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Dr Bayston’s poster presentation Determining the efficacy of a novel antimicrobial urinary catheter against Proteus mirabilis will take place on Tuesday 4 September at the Society for General Microbiology’s Autumn Conference 2012.
The Society for General Microbiology’s Autumn Conference 2012 takes place 3-5 September at the University of Warwick. Full programme details are available on www.sgmwarwick2012.org.uk/.
The Society for General Microbiology (SGM) is a membership organization for scientists who work in all areas of microbiology. It is the largest learned microbiological society in Europe with a worldwide membership based in universities, industry, hospitals, research institutes and schools. The SGM publishes key academic journals in microbiology and virology, organizes international scientific conferences and provides an international forum for communication among microbiologists and supports their professional development. The Society promotes the understanding of microbiology to a diverse range of stakeholders, including policy-makers, students, teachers, journalists and the wider public, through a comprehensive framework of communication activities and resources.
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 40,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK’s Top 10 and the World’s Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘the world’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.
More information is available from Dr Roger Bayston on +44 (0)115 823 1115, firstname.lastname@example.org
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