Breakthrough to take the pain out of catheters

March 5, 2015

A new pharmaceutical product that could significantly improve quality of life for catheter users all over the world is to be developed by Queen's University Belfast after it won a national award.

'Uroglide' is a new coating for catheters that aims to make insertion easier, less painful and with reduced risk of inflammation or infection. There are currently 26,000 intermittent users in the UK - patients who insert and remove disposable catheters themselves, between four and eight times per day.

Aimed at the global healthcare market, including the USA's estimated 300,000 intermittent catheter users, Uroglide-coated catheters are currently undergoing independent testing and could be available both on the NHS and privately by next year.

The Uroglide technology was developed by Professor Colin McCoy, from Queen's University's School of Pharmacy, and Dr Nicola Irwin, the key scientist for the project. Dr Irwin was one of just seven national winners of the Royal Academy of Engineering's Enterprise fellowships, which gives academics £85,000 each to develop their research into viable commercial products.

Professor Colin McCoy, from the School of Pharmacy at Queen's University Belfast said: "For patients with poor control over their bladders, intermittent self-catheterisation - which involves the regular insertion of catheters into the bladder via the urethra - has become the norm. This is largely due to the lower infection risk and greater personal independence associated with them. In fact, over 600 million of this type of catheter are now sold globally each year. Regular insertion of poorly lubricated catheters, however, is painful and can lead to difficult-to-treat urethral complications, such as damage, bleeding and inflammation. The coatings that are currently used dry out quickly and they've changed very little in over a decade.

"With our team at Queen's and support from Invest Northern Ireland, we developed a new coating that's cheaper than the industry standard, yet stays wet for longer, is more slippery, and adheres strongly to the catheter. By easing insertion and removal, it should improve the patient's experience and make a life-changing difference to their dignity and health.

Dr Nicola Irwin, from the School of Pharmacy at Queen's University Belfast, said: "Winning this fellowship is very exciting as it gives us 12 months of funding, mentoring and training to develop our research into a spin-out company. Our technology has already been externally validated by a team of world-renowned entrepreneurs and provides a key example of how Queen's research is being exported from the laboratory to the global marketplace and making an impact on society."

Professor David Woolfson, Head of the School of Pharmacy at Queen's University Belfast, said: "I am delighted to congratulate Dr Irwin on obtaining this prestigious Fellowship award. Together with Professor McCoy, the team leader, their work is a prime example of the School's commitment to bring the benefits of world class pharmaceutical research to patients. It further illustrates why Queen's University has been placed in the top 10 in the UK for research intensity in the recent Research Excellence Framework."

Explore further: Hospital superbugs breakthrough: Antibacterial gel kills them using natural proteins

Related Stories

Hospital superbugs breakthrough: Antibacterial gel kills them using natural proteins

August 19, 2014
Scientists at Queen's University Belfast have made a breakthrough in the fight against the most resistant hospital superbugs.

Image-guided peritoneal dialysis catheter placement significantly reduces complications

May 7, 2014
Patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis catheter placement via fluoroscopy and ultrasound-guidance experienced significantly fewer complications at 1 year post-insertion than did patients whose catheters were placed laparoscopically.

One in five physicians unaware their patients have central venous catheters

October 20, 2014
One in five physicians was unaware a hospitalized patient had a central venous catheter, which is commonly used for laboratory monitoring or to administer life-saving treatments such as IV delivery of antibiotics, nutrition, ...

New long-term antimicrobial catheter developed

September 3, 2012
A novel antimicrobial catheter that remains infection-free for up to twelve weeks could dramatically improve the lives of long-term catheter users. The scientists who have developed the new technology are presenting their ...

The environment may change, but the microbiome of queen bees does not

March 2, 2015
Researchers from North Carolina State University, Indiana University and Wellesley College have characterized the gut microbiome of honey bee queens. This is the first thorough census of the gut microbiome - which consists ...

Recommended for you

Sensor-equipped pill raises technological, ethical questions

November 17, 2017
The first drug with a sensor embedded in a pill that alerts doctors when patients have taken their medications was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, raiding issues involving privacy, cost, and whether patients ...

New painkillers reduce overdose risk

November 16, 2017
Scientists on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have developed new opioid pain relievers that reduce pain on par with morphine but do not slow or stop breathing—the cause of opiate overdose.

Separating side effects could hold key for safer opioids

November 16, 2017
Opioid pain relievers can be extremely effective in relieving pain, but can carry a high risk of addiction and ultimately overdose when breathing is suppressed and stops. Scientists have discovered a way to separate these ...

US regulators approve first digital pill to track patients

November 14, 2017
U.S. regulators have approved the first drug with a sensor that alerts doctors when the medication has been taken, offering a new way of monitoring patients but also raising privacy concerns.

Introduction is different, but top medications for opioid addiction equally effective

November 14, 2017
With opioid addiction officially declared a public health emergency in the U.S., medical intervention to treat the illness is increasingly important in responding to the epidemic. Now, a new study concludes that two of the ...

Drugstore pain pills as effective as opioids in ER patients

November 7, 2017
Emergency rooms are where many patients are first introduced to powerful opioid painkillers, but what if doctors offered over-the-counter pills instead? A new study tested that approach on patients with broken bones and sprains ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.