The use of light activated antimicrobials to prevent catheter related infection

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Chemistry


This project is focussed on reducing catheter acquired infection or CAI. These infections are widespread in the NHS and are particularly prevelant in newborns and the elderly. Our project seeks to reduce these infections through a new approach that uses a light source and a new class of catheter. This catheter has embedded dye molecules that under the action of light produce species that are toxic to bacteria. These catheters are self sterilising and most importantly show the ability to resist the biofilm formation that is the precursor to infection. It has been determined that catheter born infections are the most common cause of hospital acquired infection in the UK.

Technical Summary

This proposal seeks to reduce catheter acquired infections through the construction of a new class of catheter. These catheters have embedded light activated antimicrobial molecules in tandem with gold nanoparticles. Under the action of white light (from an LED) or laser source these catheters kill bacteria though the production of reactive oxygen species. Furthermore the new catheter surface prevents bacterial adhesion and has been shown to be able to remove a biofilm. This project aims to optimise the formation of the best antimicrobial catheter by optimisation of the LAAA- gold photosensitiser, develop the best light delivery method and incorporate these into a prototype device. We seek to do preclinical studies of the prototype device including appropriate animal testing.
Description We have developed a new prototype antimicrobial catheter. We have done extensive studies that shw that the new catheter works well to kill bacteria. We are in discussions about commercialisation. We have also made 7 other antimicrobial surfaces and further demonstrator products
Exploitation Route potential widespread use in hospitals and nursing homes.
Sectors Chemicals,Healthcare

Description EPSRC healthcare technologies call
Amount £2,482,246 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M105157 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2015 
End 06/2019
Title new antimicrobial formulation 
Description new antimicrobial coating 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2012 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The materials has gone through a clinical trial at UCH and shown to reduce bacteria in the environment. A second clinical trial has stated. 
Description Ondine 
Organisation Ondine Biomedical Inc.
Country Canada 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Access to data and equipment loans
Impact Not at this stage
Start Year 2010
Title Antimicrobial coating 
Description Antimicrobial coating 
IP Reference US2008031960 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2008
Licensed Yes
Impact ondine have started hospital trials in vancouver