Polymer coating to protect catheters from infections

March 13, 2019

A staggering 150 million intravascular catheters are implanted yearly in the US alone, and fatal infections can develop regularly.

Antibacterial coatings have then been used to prevent colonisation and kill harmful bacteria, but often lose effectiveness after only two weeks. Most antibacterial coatings also use traditional antibiotics, raising concerns about antibiotic resistance over long term use.

A new polyurethane coating has been developed that gradually releases a drug to kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria and even prevents the formation of MRSA biofilmswhich are especially resilient to antimicrobial treatment.

The findings result from collaboration between Brown’s School of Engineering and the labs of Eleftherios Mylonakis and Beth Fuchs from the Division of Infectious Diseases in Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School, US.

The new coating uses auranofin, originally developed and approved for arthritis, but Mylonakis, Fuchs and others have shown that the drug is also highly effective in killing MRSA and other dangerous microbes such that bacteria cannot evolve a natural resistance. A solution of polyurethane and auranofin forms a stretchable yet durable polymer coatingon a catheter. The coatings inhibit MRSA growth for up to 26 days, with no trace of MRSA biofilm formation upon further bioluminescence imaging.

Anita Shukla, an assistant professor of engineering at Brown’s has said that the antibiofilm finding is important because biofilms areusually effective at evading antibioticsand more difficult to treat thanfree-floating bacteria.

While auranofin has never been incorporated into a coating technology and preliminary toxicity tests has showed no adverse effects on human blood or liver cells, more testing is required before the coating is ready for the clinic.

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Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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