Providence, Rhode Island – Researchers at Brown University have developed an intravascular catheter with a polyurethane coating that might help prevent catheter-related bloodstream infections. These are the most common type of hospital-acquired infection.
The PU coating is designed to gradually release the gold-containing drug auranofin, which is not a traditional antibiotic and therefore is unlikely to cause resistance. In lab tests, the coating killed the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. The tests also showed the coating could prevent MRSA biofilms from forming. These are hard to eradicate once they become established.
To make the coating, a solution of polyurethane and auranofin was deposited onto a catheter. The solvent is evaporated to leave a stretchable and durable polymer coating. Mechanical testing showed that the coating is able to stretch up to 500% without breaking.
‘We wanted to develop a coating that could both kill planktonic [free-floating] bacteria and prevent colonisation of bacteria on surfaces,’ said lead author Anita Shukla. ‘The initial data that we gathered for this paper shows that we have something really promising.’
The research was a collaboration between scientists in the university’s engineering department and its medical school. It was published in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.