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Vaccine Stops Urinary Tract Infections Linked To Catheters

Update Date: Sep 18, 2014 10:14 AM EDT

The most common type of hospital-associated infection may be preventable with a vaccine, according to a new mice study. 

The study reports that the experimental drug prevented  urinary tract infections associated with catheters, the tubes used in hospitals and other care facilities to drain urine from a patient's bladder.

Patients who have a catheter for more than 30 days, acquire a urinary tract infection. These infections make urination painful and also damage the bladder. If left untreated bacteria can cross into the bloodstream and causing sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication. 

"Catheter-associated urinary tract infections are very common," said first author Ana Lidia Flores-Mireles, PhD, a postdoctoral research associate at the School of Medicine, in the press release. "Antibiotic resistance is increasing rapidly in the bacteria that cause these infections, so developing new treatments is a priority."

"The bacteria use long, thin hairs known as pili to anchor themselves to the fibrinogen, and then they can start to form biofilms, which are slimy coatings on the surface of the catheter composed of many bacteria," said co-author Michael Caparon Jr., PhD, professor of molecular microbiology. "The biofilms protect the bacteria from antibiotics and immune cells, further prevent them from being washed from the body by the flow of urine, and make it possible for bacteria to seed the lining of the bladder with infections."

The study has been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. 

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