A research team at the University of Nottingham, UK, has obtained approval to evaluate a urinary catheter coated with new bacteria-resistant materials at six hospitals in the country.
The medical device has already received a CE-Mark of approval and the clinical trial is intended to determine if the specially coated catheter can significantly decrease infection rates and minimise costs for patients.
In 2012, scientists from the university’s Schools of Pharmacy and Life Sciences discovered the bacteria-resistant materials, which were later developed by a local company Camstent for medical use.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US was also involved in the discovery and devised a micro-array process to allow the simultaneous analysis of multiple polymers.
These materials are intended to avoid the systemic infections associated with frequently used devices, including urinary and central venous catheters, which are considered as ‘susceptible biofilms’ for bacterial growth.
Centre for Biomolecular Sciences molecular microbiology professor Paul Williams said: “In the context of antimicrobial resistance, these materials could be a major breakthrough.
“Millions of urinary catheters are used every day around the world and anybody who has a catheter for longer than a week is likely to get an infection.”
The new materials are said to stop the biofilm formation in its early stages, where bacteria try to irreversibly attach to the device, thereby preventing infection.
Before applying for the European regulatory approval, the materials are said to have been rigorously tested by the university, while Camstent carried out a quality check for the coating, packaging and sterilisation.
Camstent chief technical officer Dr Dave Hampton said: “We are very confident that we have reached a stage where patients will benefit from using this new device as opposed to the traditional uncoated or silver impregnated ones, and we are very excited to see the results of these trials and move onto the next stage of the process.”
The researchers intend to extend the applications of the new materials to a variety of other devices such as endotracheal tubes, cochlear implants, prosthetic joints and contact lenses.
Furthermore, Wellcome Trust is funding a research project aimed at understanding the reasons behind the bacterial-resistant nature of these materials.