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Clever Catheters

Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to healthy outcomes for hospital patients across the world. 700,000 people a year lose their life due to complications during medical treatment because of infections which require antibiotics. This has a major impact on health delivery, particularly in the UK where we are witnessing a rise in antibacterial resistance.

This year the Hallam Fund is supporting new applied research to help combat the rise of antibacterial resistance by preventing the spread of infections where treatment is delivered by catheters. Our scientists are developing an innovative biocide gel coating which has been designed to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), some of the most commonly acquired health care associated infections linked to E-Coli that cost the NHS about £1 billion per year. Equally with the challenges the UK is facing with an aging population, is it essential that we find ways to improve outcomes for elderly patients, who are at an increased risk of developing catheter-associated infections that require antibiotic treatment.

Dr Sarah Forbes, Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at the University, is leading the project and will use funding to investigate the success of an anti-infective microbial gel coating applied to implanted catheters. This approach will combat infection directly, reducing the need for the use of antibiotic treatment and improving health outcomes and quality of life for patients across the NHS and globally.

Throughout her career Dr Forbes has authored research papers investigating antibacterial resistance and the use of biocide coatings to stem the spread of infection in the use of medical devices. Her work has resulted in real world innovations working healthcare partners across the world. She is passionate about science communication and outreach, and frequently takes her research out into the wider world through science festivals and schools engagement.

* Sources NICE 2018, Prevention and control of health care associated infections overview, Department of health 2013 and The UK 5 year antimicrobial resistance strategy.

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