Two researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute and St. Joseph’s Health Care London have been awarded just over $566,000 as part of a $2.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health Research (NIH). This funding will help Drs. Peter Cadieux and Hassan Razvi to explore new ways to reduce bacterial build-up on urinary devices.
The urinary tract is the most common site of healthcare-associated infection. Stents, catheters and other instruments are magnets for bacteria, which bind to and build up on device surfaces. This creates the ideal conditions for infections to develop – a less than ideal scenario for patients.
“Device-associated infections often lead to recurrent infections, encrustation and blockage of the device, local tissue damage, and even sepsis,” says Dr. Cadieux, Miriam Burnett Research Chair in Urological Sciences at St. Joseph’s Health Care London. “Once a bacterial biofilm forms, antibiotic therapy is unable to clear the infection and the device must be removed and replaced. This translates into more surgical procedures, more device and antibiotic usage, and more patient suffering.”
Using a new product, Drs. Cadieux and Razvi hope to better prevent and treat device-associated infections. Kensey Nash Corporation, their partner in the grant, develops special antimicrobial coatings that have been shown to reduce bacterial build-up. In one study, coated polyurethane had a greater than 99 per cent reduction in the attachment of several bacteria common to urinary tract infections. In another, the coatings could even clear infections. These results suggest exciting possibilities for urological patients of all kinds.
“If the device coatings we are investigating can be mass-produced and safely used in humans, we could reduce the risk of device-related infections,” says Dr. Razvi, Chief of Urology. “More importantly, we could potentially attach pharmaceuticals, such as pain relief medications, to provide targeted treatment delivery to patients.”
Over the next three years, Drs. Cadieux and Razvi will continue to assess the coatings for bacterial resistance, biocompatibility and infection prevention properties. Through research, they hope to improve upon existing products and to help develop new ones. “Dr. Razvi and I are excited to continue this exceptional collaboration with Kensey Nash Corporation,” Dr. Cadieux says. “This funding will hopefully lead to the development and implementation of novel urinary tract device coatings that resist infection.”