University of Alberta researchers have developed a hydrogel formulation by using a nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) polymer that has potential to prevent biofilm formation via physical resistance mechanism. Given that 80% of microbial infections in the body are caused by biofilms, preventing biofilm-formation via medical devices provides an effective strategy for prevention of bacterial infection.
The formulation has been validated by coating urinary catheters. Data has shown that the formulation is 99% effective at reducing initial bacterial adhesion (by depletion of colonization-induced bacterial flocculation) and subsequent biofilm formation on various surfaces. Urinary catheters are placed on 15-25% of hospitalized patients and result in more than 560,000 catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) in the US. Annual estimated CAUTI costs are as high as $1.8 billion.
It is anticipated that the hydrogel can be incorporated into current coating methods requiring very little changes in application procedures during manufacturing of catheters or other such devices or equipment.